The recently updated King’s Residences application portal promised to grant users greater choice and flexibility. Despite these assertions, current students and Freshers alike express extreme disappointment with the new system.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, students are left wondering where to live during the upcoming academic year. Many have turned to King’s Accommodations and their new application system.
In past years, students could select multiple residences and would receive offers from KCL based on availability. The new service, rolled out for the 2020/2021 academic year, promised more choice. Students would be able to select specific residences and rooms on a “first come, first served” basis. The King’s Residences site states that this process “couldn’t be simpler”. Testimonials from KCLSU representatives state that the system is “a tremendous step up from previous years,” and is “extremely user friendly”.
The student response, however, has been overwhelmingly negative. An abundance of technical issues has denied many students their rooms of choice. One student, who wished to remain anonymous, referred to the system as being “a joke”.
“It is ridiculous that we’re forced to stay up at midnight, refreshing anxiously with no idea when the room we want will be added. The timing is even more unfair to international students who are staying up until 2 or 3 a.m., and who often have no other straightforward option to living in a city they have never even visited before.
“Even after finally grabbing a room in the wild rush that you describe as an ‘easy’ process, the website is so slow in generating a contract that many lost their ten-minute room locks. Confirmation emails are also inconsistent in being sent, causing even more concern and anxiety.”
Meanwhile, some students had their rooms being double-booked. One student, who wished to remain anonymous, told Roar, “I called KCL Residences this morning. They ‘didn’t have the ability’ to deal with the problem over the phone, and I’ve been referred to Allocations.” The student was not told what a possible resolution might entail. Another double-booked student was told their contract had not been accepted and would need to book another room from those still available.
Other students have experienced numerous issues logging on to the service. A student, who wished to remain anonymous, told Roar that their original password had not been accepted, prompting them to call the Residences team. The student was forced to call the team at least four times to resolve the log-in issues. Those were resolved a month after the student should have had been able to access the service. By the time they were able to select a room, all the options they wanted had already been taken.
Another anonymous student ran into similar problems. When attempting to access the room selection for Stamford Street and Great Dover Street, their access was revoked. The student in question has not yet received an answer from King’s regarding potential solutions, saying “None of the calls have been useful. Apparently they’re swamped with calls – so it mustn’t be functioning properly.”
This difficulty comes after a year of King’s Residences mishaps. At the beginning of the 2019/2020 academic year, numerous students arrived at their new lodgings to find their rooms had been double-booked. Some residences also experienced issues with their maintenance teams. Most notably, residents of Champion Hill were forced to move to alternative accommodations in early 2020 as a result of a newly discovered fire hazard in the building.