All I want for Freshers is a room! Accommodation​ woes for off-campus students

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The 2019-2020 academic year has brought several accommodation issues for freshers and returning students alike. The University and external accommodation providers have faced issues such as a high intake of new students and delays in building time. Many have been left without their first-choice room or disappointed in the service provided by their landlords.

SCAN was informed that several incoming students have not been allocated a room on campus and instead will be moving into accommodation provided by the University of Cumbria.

A University of Cumbria spokesperson said: “We work collaboratively with Lancaster University and others across the city to provide a range of approved accommodation for all those students who choose to apply for it.”

SCAN contacted Lancaster University for a statement. A representative said that the University of Cumbria accommodation is another ‘option’ available to Clearing students. A representative went on to say, ‘We have given all first-year Clearing students access to our LUHomes website so that they can choose their off-campus accommodation. Uni of Cumbria owned accommodation is just one of the options.’

They went on to say, ‘Our on-campus offer of accommodation begins with firm offer holders during the main application cycle. This year the offer during clearing was for ‘University-owned, managed or approved’ accommodation. Details of all the university-owned, managed or approved accommodation options are all available via the website https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/accommodation/city-accommodation/.’

Other students have voiced their disapproval on the popular Facebook group ‘Overheard at Lancaster’ regarding Student Housing Lancaster. Some students have suggested that they have had problems with the accommodation centre, noting that they have had trouble reclaiming their deposits.

One user stated that they had to threaten legal action for the centre to send their deposits, while another said, ‘The company and landlords take as much money as they can from unsuspecting students and never put any of it back into the houses. Hugely disappointed by the service.’

Student Housing Lancaster were approached for statement at the time of publication.

There has also been a disappointment for students moving into the new City Block flats on Marton Street in the city centre. Sixty-six students have been affected by the delays in completion for the new flats which sold itself to prospective students by promising modern, all-inclusive rooms. 

A representative for City Block stated, ‘We’ve offered alternative city centre accommodation for all of the 66 students who have been affected by these unforeseen delays. This alternative accommodation is university-owned and partners with Lancaster University Homes. All our students will be housed in the same block so that they can remain together. While the temporary site doesn’t offer the same ensuite facilities of our Marton Street development, it is to a good standard, safe and secure and we will be refunding any difference in cost.’ ‘We fully appreciate this situation isn’t ideal and to ensure maximum comfort for our students, our CityBlock Team will be on-site each day to provide the same level of support and we have enhanced available services such as WiFi, cleaning, parcel service and kitchen equipment, to match that expected in all of our managed buildings. We will continue to do everything in our power to support our students during this time.’

The Student’s Union were approached for a statement.

Have you had any problems with your accommodation? Let us know and email scan.news@lancastersu.co.uk

Olivia Kenny

Hi! I'm Olivia (but everyone calls me Liv) and I'm the Associate Editor for SCAN for 2019-2020. I was previously the News Editor and have contributed to the section since the beginning of my first year. Now in my third year, SCAN is a huge part of my University life. Feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions, I'd love to hear from you!

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