Accommodation in Crisis – What Has Happened?

Overbookings caused multiple students to be turned away from their accommodation upon arrival on September 19th. King’s administration called students the day before arrival and prompted them to choose between relocation and termination of their contract with only a few hours to decide.

 

 

“I feel angry and betrayed by how this has been handled,” a second-year student said.

 

While the first week of lectures is drawing to a close, the start of term has been far from harmonious. On Tuesday, news broke that several students upon arriving at their halls had been turned away due to overbookings. What should have been the start of an exciting new chapter instead turned into a nightmare due to what can only be seen as a case of dire administrative oversight.

 

The overbookings have especially hit 2nd and 3rd-year students who typically return to uni the week after freshers and the rooms were already taken. Less than 24 hours before her move-in date, a second-year student who wished to remain anonymous noticed five missed calls from what turned out to be King’s College London administrators. When she returned their call it was explained to her that she would not be given her room at Champion Hill despite her contract.

 

“They explained to me that  this is not the first case of overbooking and that I am not the only one; they have given more rooms than they actually have.” 

 

The student received two options. She was offered a room at Stratford One, a less than perfect option given the hour-long commute to her lectures at Denmark Hill’s campus. The new room was similar in size and for the same price. If she accepted this room she would also receive compensation between 1000-2000 GBP to use to transport etc. The other option was to cancel the contract and find a new place to live. 

 

Another second-year student, who wished to remain anonymous, had a similar experience. He was contacted less than 12 hours before his flight with an “updated offer” for Stratford One, also being offered identical rent prices and compensation as goodwill. Upon speaking with King’s administration, he was told that every King’s accommodation except Stratford One was full and that he was “not one of five cases, more like one of 500 cases,” he told Roar.

 

One of them, however, was later given a chance to relocate. 15 minutes after the first call, King’s administration called them back and offered her a room at Moonraker Point, which is much closer to her lectures than Stratford One. The room at Moonraker Point was originally over 300 GBP per week but she was allowed to keep her rent at Champion Hill of 225 GBP per week, however, she would no longer receive travel compensation.

 

The saga, however, was not over yet. The moment she arrived at Moonraker Point, the staff there did not have any information regarding her relocation. It took another hour to figure out everything, and she was finally given the very last free room at the accommodation, which also turned out to be for disabled people.

 

Despite all the trouble, I feel extremely lucky, especially since I know a lot of people who weren’t relocated as well as me.” 

 

The other student was not offered to relocate and has moved into Stratford One.

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