Rent striking students claim victory

Posted On 14 Dec 2017 at 4:00 pm

A rent strike by Sussex students living in halls on Brighton seafront has claimed victory after just four days.

Residents of Kings Road Hall announced on Monday that they were to withhold rent in protest at a catalogue of complaints including rats, building work and faulty white goods.

More than a third of the 110 students living there joined the protest, aided by the Acorn renters’ union.

Today, they announced that the strike was being called off after the university agreed to give each student £515 compensation and a guarantee that all necessary repairs will be carried out before the beginning of the spring term.

The complaints procedure is also being redesigned.

Akane Hirabayashi, a first year student and Kings Rd. resident said: “It’s a huge victory. I can’t believe we’ve won so fast! The residents of Kings Road are thrilled that our demands have been met in full. We are very happy that the university has proven so willing to listen to the concerns of students.”

Duncan Michie, Acorn organiser and third year Sussex student said: “This deal is an impressive victory for the union. We’re proud to have been able to protect our members’ interests and prove that real power comes from organising and taking action.”

A demonstration on Sussex campus, initially intended to put pressure on the university to meet the rent strikers’ demands, has been turned into a celebration rally.

Acorn member Ellie Ferguson said: “This victory is only one small step in solving the Brighton housing crisis. Now, we need to continue to get organised.

“Our union branch is only just beginning to take the fight to the landlords. There is so much more to be done in rented accommodation all across the city, not just in student halls.”

A University of Sussex spokesperson said: “Through constructive discussions with our students and the Students’ Union we have been able to reach an agreement today.

“The university takes great care to ensure that its students experience a high quality of accommodation – if this is not being met, then we will take swift action to rectify matters.

“We have now put in place additional measures to ensure there is enhanced communication with students regarding housing so that situations do not get to this stage in the future. Listening to our students on the issues they care about will always be our top priority.”

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