Exeter students were forced to spend the start of the year at a hotel after their rooms weren’t ready in time – and have told Exeposé the University was “unhelpful” during their struggle to find accommodation.
120 students meant to be moving into the Kingfisher Studios, owned by national company Downing Students, had to be placed in Jury’s Inn for two to three weeks, including during Freshers’ week.
An anonymous first year student told Exeposé that the company notified them about the hotel arrangements just two days before their move in date, however, their hotel check-in date had only been scheduled for the start of week one, leaving the student stranded with no option but to find a hostel.
the company notified them about the hotel arrangements just two days before their move in date
“Exeter wasn’t my first choice, but when I called up for accommodation the University wasn’t helpful, so I applied for Kingfisher by myself, on 19 August and everything seemed fine. As if my stress of coming to a new place wasn’t bad enough, they called me two days before my arrival date to tell me that my room wasn’t ready.
“I regret choosing this place and I’m so disappointed at the University’s inability to help me. I expected my fresher’s week to be a more pleasant experience.”
A spokesperson from Kingfisher told Exeposé: “We would like to apologise for the disruption caused by delays experienced by the third-party contractors we appointed to deliver The Kingfisher development.”
The affected students living at Jury’s Inn were provided with a daily allowance of £15 for maintenance costs, as their initial accommodation rooms were equipped with kitchen facilities. A second-year student, however, said she “ended up paying way more for food as [she] was lacking a kitchen and it all took so much away from [her] university experience.” In addition, their check-out dates varied widely.
A spokesperson from Kingfisher assured Exeposé: “In order to ensure [that] students were as comfortable as possible during the transition phase, [they] offered allowances for meals, laundryand transport.”
The affected students living at Jury’s Inn were provided with a daily allowance of £15
A third-year Erasmus student was recommended Kingfisher by the University’s website for exchange students, as University Halls are not provided for students enrolled on a course for only a term. “Even though I applied for accommodation in May, they forgot to even send me my hotel details, so I had to email them and only ended up getting my hotel booking confirmation a day before my flight,” they told Exeposé.
“They failed to manage the situation completely and they have responded to the delay in a manner that you would never expect a respected and well-established company to do so.”
Callum Dennis, a first-year Maths student, expressed frustration at both Kingfisher and the University. The latter “failed to initially help with providing accommodation, so it seems like there’s nowhere near enough accommodation for the demand.”
When the students eventually moved into the residence at the end of September, construction outside the residence was still ongoing, and will be until December. For the Erasmus student, they claim “for my entire stay I’ve basically had to live on a construction site and no compensation has been offered. This has really given me unnecessary stress in a period where I should enjoy my time and focus on my studies.”
construction outside the residence was still ongoing, and will be until December
Dennis agrees. “If this is ‘excellent student accommodation’ then I would hate to see what their worst ones are.”
“Not only did Kingfisher push back our moving in date, the common room wasn’t done for a month and two months into the contract, builders are still here everyday, scaffolding is still not down and the bike sheds are not yet up.”
A spokesperson from Downing Students, the company that owns Kingfisher Studios said: “We fully understand the frustration the delay caused to Exeter students and are looking forward to delivering an outstanding experience for them during the rest of their tenancy.”
In response to the issue, Alec James, VP Welfare & Diversity said: “Whilst disappointing that the situation occurred in the first place, it is good to see the landlord living up to their contractual obligations. In any case like this where students are
being impacted the Advice Unit is available to ensure students are fully are of their rights.”