There were around 20 attendees from both Paul Robeson and Dinwiddy House. We discussed the upcoming Rent Strike, other issues that have come up in the halls of residence, as well as plans for the next week.
There were points discussed in this meeting which have not been minuted. For access to these points please contact us (residents and SOAS Students’ Union executive only).
Concerns about Accommodation
- Accommodation issues this year have affected our studies.
- Communication about repairs has not improved – we still do not know when and how things will be fixed.
- Someone used fire exit doors to get into flats on the weekend, stealing a significant amount of food from kitchens.
- When some people came to Dinwiddy/Paul Robeson House, they did not know what kitchen equipment to bring. This information needs to be better advertised.
- Communication prior to moving in was sparse and strict, concentrating on penalties for not paying fees on time, with little information about the accommodation itself.
- Dates for rent payments are strict, and seem random. Why is the rent due a day or two before student loan payment dates, not after?
- Cleaning fees are random, and residents have been told to pay anything from £15 to £100 with no explanation.
- When some residents moved in, their rooms were dirty – with such things as underwear and rubbish in rooms. Not knowing what condition to expect their rooms to be in, noone raised this as an issue at the time.
- A number of residents have had issues with flooding. This must be addressed by Sanctuary Students.
- When residents have to move out because of issues to do with accommodation (such as infestations), they are still liable for the rest of their rent. Why is this the case? Why are residents effectively being fined for leaving unsafe or infested accommodation?
- RC to write a letter to SOAS (and Student Advice and Wellbeing) to inform them of the Rent Strike, noting how accommodation issues have affected residents’ studies.
- RC to raise the issue of camera systems and ask Sanctuary Students for a comprehensive security review, including discussion of placing and usage of cameras, and procedures for security staff to follow.
Upcoming Dates and Times to Note
- Sanctuary Management is holding an open forum (organised in March) on Wednesday 29th April at 6pm in the Dinwiddy Common Room. All residents are welcome to attend.