Students at Goldsmiths College, New Cross, have just won a major victory. It comes after a long-running rent strike at the college and, before that, an unbroken streak of rent strike victories in London colleges since we brought the tactic back from the history books: the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the summer or 2015, University College London (UCL) later that year, and UCL again last summer.
This wave of actions shows no sign of stopping. We are building on our successes, and this term many campuses all over the country are organising similar campaigns. I have no doubt that more victories are soon to follow.
Student residents in Raymont Hall and Surrey House, Goldsmiths' College, have been offered:
- A 35 percent reduction in their rent tariff, backdated to the start of their current tenancy agreement and for the remainder of the academic year.
- The opportunity to move to another Goldsmiths hall of residence, subject to availability.
- The option for residents to terminate their current contract, without penalty, and find alternative accommodation.
The compensation offered to the students could amount to a rebate of over £650,000, returned to the pockets of Goldsmiths students over this academic year.
Students have faced a myriad of of housing horror stories over the past year, including exploding toilets, infestations, invasions of privacy, excessive noise, break-ins due to security issues, and a lack of hot water for weeks on end, whilst paying up to £170 a week in rent.
Eva Crossan Jory, Campaigns and Activities Officer, who has been working closely with the Goldsmiths Cut The Rent Campaign, commented: "Since the beginning of term, I have had countless complaints from students about the state of their Halls of Residences, and it has been abundantly clear that the College's promise of improved Halls was far from a reality.
"After the brilliant work of students in both Raymont Hall and Surrey House, over 100 students signed a letter demanding a 50 perfect cut in their rent, mainly due to the fact that their homes had turned into building sites without any prior notice.
"I think we can all agree that if someone was going to build a four story building in your garden, you'd want to know before agreeing to move in so that you could firmly reject such a ridiculous offer."
But the fight continues. Students are still calling on the College to increase the rent reduction to 50 percent, in recognition of the severity of the conditions that student residents have consistently had to live through over the past three months.
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