Nottingham students are withholding rent after Legionella was found in Florence Boot Hall

Students were initially told that it was a ‘mechanical issue’

A rent strike has been organised due to a Legionella outbreak in a University of Nottingham hall.

The outbreak occurred in Florence Boot Hall and was found after a renovation and forced students to move into different halls for a month.

Legionella, which grows and multiplies in water systems, can cause a serious form of pneumonia.

Students were initially told to move into different halls as a result of a “mechanical issue” only for it to be communicated later that it was Legionella Bacteria. According to students the problem has still not been fully resolved.

A student who was supposed to be moving into Florence Boot Hall at the start of the year said: “Our hall wasn’t even completed for us to move into. Eventually we got told that there was a ‘mechanical issue’ and that something had failed a final check; we were told we had to go to either Willoughby or Jubilee campus halls.”

Initially the students were told that it would only take two weeks to complete the remedial works but the “deadline passed”.

After having finally moved into Florence Boot Hall, where the cheapest room costs £238 a week (£8,964 for 39 weeks) and the most expensive is £308.14 a week (£11,703 for 39 weeks), a student has described how the residential experience team who carried out removals damaged her personal belongings.

Students from across all accommodation owned by the University of Nottingham have begun a rent strike to protest the increase in rent during the cost of living crisis.

Nottingham Student Renters Union has said: “Many students have joined the Rent Strike to raise their voices about the conditions of student accommodation. One of the worst problems comes from Florence Boot Hall on campus, where after a renovation, legionella bacteria was found.

“The problem has still not been fully resolved with students unsure of when they will return to their chosen accommodation. In other halls of residence students have complained of mould, leaks, rats, unfixed elevators and unsuitable living arrangements all for an increase in cost.”

During the 2021/2022 academic year students organised a rent strike with other 1,500 students signing up to withhold rent payments to protest the universities handling of Covid-19 crisis.

In the end the university gave out £7 million in rent rebates back to students due to pressure from those living in accommodation.

A University of Nottingham spokesperson has said:“Following refurbishment works over the summer, standard health and safety checks were carried out which identified the presence of Legionella bacteria in certain areas of Florence Boot Hall.

“The health and wellbeing of our staff and students is our highest priority and we provided alternative accommodation for students until we could be certain that Florence Boot Hall was safe for both students and staff.

“A programme of work with our main contractor has now resolved the situation to the university’s expected standard for water management and all of those students who were temporarily relocated have now moved into Florence Boot Hall with support from the university.

“In recognition of the temporary disruption, students were not charged any accommodation costs until they were moved into their accommodation in Florence Boot Hall. Students received additional support and welcome events to help them settle into university life while in their temporary accommodation. There will also be additional activities available now they are settled in Florence Boot Hall.”

Featured image via Nottingham Student Renters Union 

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