Kristian Else, 22, moved from Australia to London in 2011 to study at the University of Westminster, but was astonished along with his fellow flat mates, at the awful state of the private student accommodation provided by a market leader in the industry.
Kristian discovered his experience was not isolated, as student unions across the UK reported similar experiences within their local private halls. 20 Student Unions have now collaborated with the review website Hallbookers.co.uk, in order to improve standards nationally & to give students an independent guide to help avoid the worst private halls and find the best.
Kristian commented: “Private hall providers have always operated in complete secrecy which has meant some of them could offer poor standards and never be exposed. Hallbookers will change all of this, our platform has shifted the power away from hall providers and balanced it with students who can now expose the best & the doggy hall providers.”
NUS reports that half of respondents who lived in privately owned accommodation felt that it wasn’t good value for money. Despite this, Student accommodation prices have consistently been rising, with the average weekly rent in university owned accommodation double from 2002-2012.
Rima Amin, president of City University Students’ Union who is leading a campaigning for compensation from Pure Student Living because of the “unacceptable conditions” students faced at one of their sites, stated:
“Hallbookers offers this platform for students to voice their experience and guide others. There are halls that have exhibited extremely poor standards and behaviours and it’s important that these experiences are made public. It also encourages student accommodation providers to develop their services.”
Sebastian Debrouwere, President of Kings College Student Union commented: “Good quality and affordable student accommodation has fast become the exception rather than the rule. On top of that, it’s nearly impossible to find good and unbiased information amongst in the sea of glossy flyers and shiny websites”
Jacqui Hawthorn, from Student Castle, a hall provider which is encouraging students to review their properties, stated: “At last a good honest student accommodation review guide. This should sort the good from the bad, give students all they need without having to trawl the streets.”
Hallbookers.co.uk has been launched nationwide this week, and lists every private hall in the UK. The supporting student unions and several private hall providers are encouraging students to review their local accommodation