Student halls shuts after fire safety inspection

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Trinity Hall student accommodation, a 94-bedroom luxury student development in Woodhouse, has been shut down following an inspection by a West Yorkshire Fire Service Marshal.

The brand new residence was due to open to tenants on 19th September, however due to unforeseen building delays, the building was unready and students were rehoused in temporary accommodation.

Later that week, on September 23rd, a decision was made to move in 21 students to the new site, and despite a fire plan being put in place, an inspection by a local fire marshal found the building unsafe for occupation, and residents were forced to move back in to temporary housing.

The issue seems to have been a lack of usable fire escapes for the amount of flats being inhabited.

A new move in date for the 17th October has now been set.

Speaking to The Gryphon, one student tenant, who wishes to remain anonymous, said, “The management of the whole process just hasn’t been up to scratch which has made everything more stressful.

“If I’d known it would end up like this I would have just gone for one of the other places I viewed”

The tenant was rehoused in Roomz accommodation before the 23rd, and then a modern apartment complex after the fire safety inspection, and said of their experience: “I can’t complain about the accommodation they have provided me with but I know that others may not have had as good an experience as me with temporary accommodation.

“Personally I’m hoping we can get some rent knocked off due to hassle and the fact that not everything will be built [when we move in] (the gym etc).”

Speaking of their experience of briefly moving in to the accommodation on the 23rd they said: “I would have preferred it to be fully done before I moved, but you can see that it is going to be lovely.

“However outside my apartment it’s basically still a building site and there is still scaffolding up.

“There are no secure gates built yet and no gym, shop or court yard. I feel like they would have been better off not letting it out this year and doing it next year.

“They say it will be complete on the 17th [October] – I highly doubt it will all be done but it is still fine to live in. I just want some rent knocked off since it is not what it’s meant to be when I first signed up.”

“In fairness they said that if we find somewhere else they will allow us out the contract, however it’s impossible to find anywhere similar this late on as they [other accommodation] are all sold out now, so I’m just waiting it out.”

artist-impresison-3-800x300Niche Homes, the third party company who do not own the property but are responsible for letting and managing it, responded: “We were informed in August that the build had a delay and would have to cover intakes over a phasing period. This was not ideal but this is what we were told.

Once we found there was to be a delay all tenants where informed and Unipol were made aware of the issue.

“We have/are following the Code of Practice and the tenants best interest is of paramount importantce to Niche Homes Ltd.

“We moved the first intake into Trinity Hall on the 23rd September; at this point we were assured by both the Landlord and Developer that all was signed off and good to go.

“On Monday 26th September it became apparent that the Fire Marshall had been sent to site and had deemed the fire access for the apartments not sufficient and needed resolving prior to any tenant sleeping in their allocated rooms.

As soon as we had this information we had to move all tenants back into alternative accommodation and we made the decision that no intake was to take place until latest 17th October, so that the landlord and developers can hand us over a phase that meets the criteria of that of West Yorkshire Fire Department.

We have housed all tenants in alternative accommodation until up to 17th October and we offered tenants that did not want to continue the option to cancel the tenancies and be let out of their contracts, with any money owing to be refunded.

The whole building after this phase will be finished in stages including any external works which is on track for completion mid-November.

LUU have said: “We are working with a number of students affected by the closure of Trinity Halls to re-home them into accommodation that they feel comfortable in.  If the closure affects you and you’d like some help too, please pop up to LUU Advice on the first floor of the Union or drop us an email on advice@luu.leeds.ac.uk”

Jessica Murray

(Image: Niche-Homes)

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