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Residents Speak Out Against SSA’s Mould Problem

mould

Evelyn Shepphird is a second year student at King's College London, on the European Studies (French Pathway) Programme.

One of King’s student accommodations, Stamford Street Apartments (SSA) located in Waterloo, has a pervasive mould issue. Since hosting new students in September, there have been various complaints from residents.

The accommodation, which starts at £204 per week, is popular among students attending Strand and Waterloo Campus due to its central location, though it is criticized for its sparse facilities. Since September, many students have come forward with allegations of negligence when confronting mould problems which have crept up in both refurbished and un-refurbished flats in the residence. Roar has found that complaints received by SSA staff since September have rarely been addressed.

Student Perspective

When interviewed, one SSA resident stated that she immediately noticed the issue upon her arrival earlier in the academic year. She stated that she reported it in-person the day she moved in and an another four times when the issue remained unresolved.

Eventually, maintenance visited her room to attempt to remove the mould. However, when the student was informed that this had been seen to, she expressed that the mould remained the same as it was left, if not worse. When asked about how this has so far impacted her stay at SSA, the student explained that it had made her room feel unhygienic, even when it was at its cleanest.

The student also recently experienced prolonged illness and found out from visiting the GP that she was suffering from pneumonia. She believes this was due to her exposure to the mould that was (and still is) present in her room.

Finally, when Roar asked the student whether she would recommend future students to stay at SSA, she explained that although she would still recommend the accommodation because of its convenient location and relatively low price in comparison to other King’s residences, this pervasive issue remains a primary concern and significant drawback of the residence.

drain

Mould in the drain of the interviewed student.

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Mould found in the restroom corner of the interviewed student.

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Mould on a resident’s shower curtain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This problem is not restricted to one student either. When contacted about sharing their experience in late January, many students sent in messages about their concerns.

One student shared, “I spent an hour scraping black mould from the windows but the mould has gone onto the paintwork and I have no way of getting it off (the mould was there when I moved in). My shower curtain was also mouldy when I moved in.”

Another stated, “I had a pretty bad problem with [mould] and no one came to sort it out, so my dad had to.”

These students and others have called upon SSA to manage the infestation, but despite the wealth of experiences with mould, a student is yet to come forward with a positive experience with SSA’s response to the problem.

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Mould on a windowsill.

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Mould as seen on the windowsill of a SSA residence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stamford Street Apartments’ Response

On 27 January, Roar sent a message to a Whatsapp group chat including most SSA residents asking them to share their experiences with mould. The same night, SSA sent an email to every resident titled “Bathroom Steam/Mould”. The email asserted that it was a “gentle reminder” to come forward with any concerns with steam or mould, and provided advice to avoid keeping irons, rice cookers or kettles in bedrooms, to open windows regularly and to clean the bathroom routinely.

The email ended, “If you are experiencing any maintenance issue or any mould problem please come forward and report it to us.”
This occurred in spite of most residents experiencing an issue with mould had reported their problem numerous times with ineffective results. After the email was sent, flyers appeared around the residence advertising a “site night”, a forum through which students could air their concerns:

“[SSA staff] was giving ways that you can, as a student, take care of the mould, like airing out your room […] and not having irons or kettles. […] He also mentioned that there is delay within maintenance and within SSA, they’re working on fixing the issue. He did say that if you can’t get rid of [the mould,] please come forward. So, the same as the email, really.”

Roar reached out to KCL Residences for comment but they have not yet responded.

Evelyn Shepphird is a second year student at King's College London, on the European Studies (French Pathway) Programme.

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