The people in charge of managing accommodation at the University of Worcester have addressed criticism of their handling of student deposits this week. This is after frustrated students took to social media to complain.
Many students complained about having to wait to get their deposits back, even though they had moved out of their accommodation many weeks prior.
Other students, who had already got their deposits back, claimed they had been fined for damage they didn’t do, for cleaning costs on rooms they had left ‘spotless’ and for damage in communal areas they had been told they wouldn’t be fined for.
One student we talked to, who asked to remain anonymous, said he was charged £200 to redecorate a room that was ‘nasty and cold and… damp’ when he moved in, and which had mould growing on the walls. He was told to keep his window open to get rid of the mould, which he said he couldn’t do for security reasons.
Leaving the door of his room open at all times also did little to alleviate the problem. After he moved out he was also fined £50 for a broken table that he said ‘wasn’t my doing’.
Another student said she was fined £50 to replace a chair, but was given her money back after she complained about the charge. She said her main issue was ‘the fact they took so long sorting it out… Surely, the quicker they sort it, the happier everyone will be’.
Lucy Blunt from the Facilities team at the university is in charge of addressing some of the problems students face with their deposits. She stressed that ‘we don’t want to hold anyone’s money back’, and stated that it was much easier for Facilities if they could return a students’ deposit in full.
However, she also stressed that the university needed to make sure that their properties were ‘left as (they) were found’. She noted that the long wait students faced for getting their deposits back was generally due to students moving out long before the end of their contract.
According to the Accommodation Services brochure, students should get their deposits back ‘within six weeks of the end of (their) contact’. She empathised with students who were having problems with their deposits, and said that many of the problems in managed accommodation were caused by poor communication between students, private landlords and the university.
She stressed that any problems in managed accommodation should be reported to the university first and foremost. She also highlighted the importance on filling out the room inspection form as you move in to university accommodation. The room inspection form allows you to report any problems you have with your room so you won’t be fined for them later.
It is also a good idea to take a photo of your room before you move into it, so that can challenge any fines you believe are mistaken later. Lucy says that she wants to hear from anyone who has any concerns about university accommodation and that her team is ‘always looking to improve the (accommodation) process’. The university currently administers around 1100 rooms in its halls of residence across both campuses. On top of this the university administers a number of ‘managed accommodation’ houses in agreement with local landlords