News | HOUSING CASE STUDY 3: Tenants turn up the heat

Students living at the Eldon Court accommodation opposite campus have expressed their anger after going days without heating.

One current tenant told LS that an entire flat could have its electricity turned off unless everyone in the block paid their rent, dubbing the move “ridiculous”.

A staff member for the accommodation, Abu Alkas Berat, denied that Eldon Court switched off tenants’ electricity because of late rent payments, saying he had “never shut off the electricity” and when the rent was not paid on time “we would normally send them a letter to tell them that the rent is late.”

Asked directly if the management had ever knowingly turned off electricity in a flat for any reason, Mr Alkas Berat replied: “No.”

One tenant also complained: “[Management] will enter the rooms whenever they want without giving prior notice. I know they do have a right to enter our rooms but notice should
be given.”

Mr Alkas Berat said: “If the tenants have requested a [notice of entry] letter then we would send them one, if they haven’t then we won’t.”

The student accommodation is located opposite the Chemistry building, a short walk from the Parkinson Steps. The residence, which is privately owned by Northend Management LTD, was removed from the Unipol code in June 2012.

The time taken by management to respond was also a repeat complaint from tenants. One student, who has been staying at Eldon Court for two years, told LS: “the management is probably what turns many people off. With the exception of one of them called Abu, the managers are terrible at customer relations. They are rude, ignorant, unfriendly and just couldn’t be bothered about their tenants.”

Mr Alkas Berat was unable to provide details about the number of complaints concerning faulty utilities that had been received in the
last month.

Several other tenants spoke to LS complaining about faulty equipment, Wi-Fi connectivity and poor customer service.

Law student Zara Bhatti alleged that the broken heating and hot water in one block had been left unrepaired for a whole weekend before it was fixed, despite being assured it would be operating again within hours.

Mr Alkas Berat said that repairs would take place on the “same day, normally. It depends on what kind of repair it is. If it’s an emergency then it’s definitely the same day, and other jobs can be done within 24 hours.”

Bhatti and several other tenants have now planned to write a letter of complaint to the management listing their issues with the residence. Bhatti said: “I guess the heating situation and the lack of organisation at the front desk was the tipping point for me.”

Photo: Sam Broadley

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