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katrinahale
31-01-2009, 13:02 PM
Hi all

My daughter is at university and is sharing accommadation in in halls with 8 other students. The problem is that they have had no hot water on and off since sept 2008. The uni have sent several plumbers to fix but it keeps breaking down. Now they have put in an emersion heater which is great but it only heats enough water for 6 people to have showers not 8 and then there is not enough to do washing up or anything else until the tank fills up again. They have made numerous complaints with no luck would they be due any compensation under their contract as it states they will be provided with hot water. Do they have to provide enough for the amount of people living there as it stands at the moment they have to draw straws on who has a shower on each day.

Thanks

mind the gap
31-01-2009, 13:57 PM
Hi all

My daughter is at university and is sharing accommadation in in halls with 8 other students. The problem is that they have had no hot water on and off since sept 2008. The uni have sent several plumbers to fix but it keeps breaking down. Now they have put in an emersion heater which is great but it only heats enough water for 6 people to have showers not 8 and then there is not enough to do washing up or anything else until the tank fills up again. They have made numerous complaints with no luck would they be due any compensation under their contract as it states they will be provided with hot water. Do they have to provide enough for the amount of people living there as it stands at the moment they have to draw straws on who has a shower on each day.

Thanks

This sounds unacceptable, although I suppose it will depend to some extent on how long is considered 'reasonable' for one shower? If each of each six students all stay in for 10 mins each, then a hot water tank may well run out of hot water quickly. If the same water-heating system is in place in the other flatlets in the same block and no-one has complained, it might just be that your daughter's corridor-mates are being unrealistic and wasteful about their hot water usage.

If they are not being unrealistic, then they need to get onto the University Accommodation Manager - start with the manager of their particular residence, give them a clear deadline for action and then take the complaint higher, right up to the top dog if need be. My son had a similar problem in his university residence (no flushing toilets and no hot water for the first two weeks of term!) and it took a lot of nagging, at quite a high level, before it was fixed. As a parent presumably with an interest in the payment of your child's rent, it may also be effective if you and other parents also complained. Firm, polite, but above all persistent pressure is the only thing which seems to work with big organisations, especially ones which sub-contract work out to a management company who re-sub-contract to a smaller private firm, who are always on another project when wanted.

Unfortunately, in my experience, Universities do not seem to be bound by the same obligations as us 'ordinary mortal' landlords and get away with some fairly shoddy stuff which would have the EHO scuttling round to a normal rented house, PDQ.

Good luck.

mind the gap
31-01-2009, 14:42 PM
The thought has just occurred to me that if you can tell us the approximate height and diameter of the new immersion-heater cylinder (assuming it is the only means of heating the water for those 8 students), there may be a plumber or heating engineer on the forum who can tell you whether it is likely to be up to the job or not.

Does the immersion heater produce hot water for wash basins, showers and occasional washing-up only? Or do they do all their own cooking, washing up and cleaning as well? Presumably no hot-fill washing machine in this residence?

Rodent1
31-01-2009, 15:16 PM
Ask thenm to fit an inline water heater (electric or gas) far more efficient and continous h/w supply...an electric one is cheaper to buy than a shower !

Also i think you will find that 8 people sharing one shower is not acceptable and 2 showers should be proved!


The Rodent

mind the gap
31-01-2009, 15:26 PM
Ask thenm to fit an inline water heater (electric or gas) far more efficient and continous h/w supply...an electric one is cheaper to buy than a shower !

Also i think you will find that 8 people sharing one shower is not acceptable and 2 showers should be proved!


The Rodent

Rodent, OP did not say there was only one shower - only that the heater seemed insufficient to cope with the amount of hot water needed for 8 students to have showers.

katrinahale
31-01-2009, 16:44 PM
Hi Yes there is only one shower and 2 toilets.
They have a cleaner that comes in provided under the contract. There is not a washing machine but they do all their own cooking and washing up.

They have all been complaining for weeks now and they dont seem bothered, can they withhold rent payments until it is satisfactory ?

jta
31-01-2009, 16:54 PM
I'm tempted to say that sharing might be fun, but that would be tasteless, so I wont. :D

Why don't they stagger their showers? Some in the morning, and some at night.
That would give the tank a while to re-heat. Keep chasing the Uni for another plumber.

mind the gap
31-01-2009, 17:02 PM
I'm tempted to say that sharing might be fun, but that would be tasteless, so I wont. :D

Why don't they stagger their showers? Some in the morning, and some at night.
That would give the tank a while to re-heat. Keep chasing the Uni for another plumber.

jta...most students (especially female ones) want to shower in the morning and the evening (especially if they aren't paying for the energy to heat the water). It's one of the reasons the planet can't cope, let alone the immersion heater in this particular building!

Things have moved along a bit since the days when students had to 'book' a bath with their landlady about a week in advance!

That sounds wrong, but you know what I mean!

mind the gap
31-01-2009, 17:37 PM
Also i think you will find that 8 people sharing one shower is not acceptable and 2 showers should be proved!


The Rodent

I don't think it's acceptable either, however I think University residences are exempt from the normal HMO regs, for some reason which I have never been able to work out.

I don't recall exactly, but I have something in the back of my mind about them coming under the same rules as residential care homes and other 'regulated buildings'... which seems to mean they have to have fire alarm practices about three times a week, day and night, and you're arrested if you put blu-tak on the wall, but that they can get away with 8 people and one shower.

(Or 8 people and one, small [=armpit-high] fridge-freezer, in my daughter's first year in self-catering halls).

Rodent1
31-01-2009, 17:45 PM
Newer blocks have all got en-suite !

So MTG when can we share a cold shower ?

The Rodent

mind the gap
31-01-2009, 17:51 PM
Newer blocks have all got en-suite !



That's because they are beginning to realise they need to compete with your jacuzzis and tiled wet rooms, Rodent. And there may be rules about new blocks which don't apply retrospectively to older blocks. More's the pity (for the poor students), but it makes our student houses look very attractive, doesn't it?

Rodent1
31-01-2009, 17:53 PM
That's because they are beginning to realise they need to compete with your jacuzzis and tiled wet rooms, Rodent. And there may be rules about new blocks which don't apply retrospectively to older blocks. More's the pity (for the poor students), but it makes our student houses look very attractive, doesn't it?


Regardless. 8 people sharing 1 shower is utterly ridiculous.

The Rodent

mind the gap
31-01-2009, 17:54 PM
Regardless. 8 people sharing 1 shower is utterly ridiculous.

The Rodent

I agree. Especially all at the same time:D

Rodent1
31-01-2009, 18:21 PM
I agree. Especially all at the same time

Well in my younger days i would have been well up for a bit if that, as long as it was me and 7 other females !

In fact, i think i could still be fairly easily persuaded :D

The Rodent

katrinahale
31-01-2009, 18:23 PM
Thankyou for your comments I visited her last week im sorry but if you saw the people she shares with you would not want to share anything with them let alone a shower !

Back to my question can they withold rent until its fixed or claim any compensation ?

mind the gap
31-01-2009, 18:32 PM
Thankyou for your comments I visited her last week im sorry but if you saw the people she shares with you would not want to share anything with them let alone a shower !

Back to my question can they withold rent until its fixed or claim any compensation ?

No, I think the University authorities have them 'over a barrel' in this respect. When some of my daughter's friends in another Hall threatened to withold rent (because the internet access, which had been advertised as standard in each room, did not materialise for months), they were told in no uncertain terms that they would be in breach of contract and subject to disciplinary procedures, etc. Ultimately, they can prevent you from taking University exams - although it doesn't usually come to that, thank goodness.

I know it's boring, but you/they just have to keep plugging (!) away at the Accommodation/Housing Manager.

In the end, of course, they may have to accept that they are just being unrealistic about how much they want to use the shower. We cannot say without knowing more. I think someone needs to get an answer to the question : How many litres of hot water can this tank hold at a time and is that a realistic amount for 8 students to be able to shower from?

Rodent1
31-01-2009, 18:39 PM
Witholding rent should be a very very last resort and cash put aside in an appropiate acc to prove that you "have" it and are witholding purely as a lever. You will be in breach of your agreement (i would think!-check it) may incur interest, late payment fees and admin costs.

Two wrongs doo not make a right - i would concentrate on getting to the "decisionmaker" ie the person who has the authority to do something constructive about this, or possibly negotiate alternative(suitable) accom from same supplier.

Hopefully someone with more specific knowledge of "Uni halls regs" will post shortly.
Uni's generally require accreditation when promoting use of private sector housing and there is NO WAY would this be allowed in the private sector.
I have 2 8 let props ..both required 2 toilets and 2showers(or baths) whats more one toilet had to be in a sep "room" to the bathrooms (ie 3 rooms in tot).
So at present we seem to have some VERY mixed standards?

Suggest a call to local (to UNI) council and speak to private sector housing dept who if not able to advise may be able to point you in the right direction. (Knowledge is power!)

How long is the agreement set to run for ?
Is there an option to break and leave ?
Which city/council (so we do some research for you)?

The Rodent

Rodent1
31-01-2009, 18:42 PM
How many litres of hot water can this tank hold at a time and is that a realistic amount for 8 students to be able to shower from?


More to the point how and why should 8 people have to share 1 shower, bearing in mind that this is totaly unacceptable (even to Uni's ) in the private sector?

The Rodent

mind the gap
31-01-2009, 18:47 PM
More to the point how and why should 8 people have to share 1 shower, bearing in mind that this is totaly unacceptable (even to Uni's ) in the private sector?

The Rodent

No, it's not really 'more to the point'; it's a separate issue.

Even if there were 8 showers being fed from same hot water tank, they would have the same problem.

Rodent1
31-01-2009, 21:50 PM
Sigh ..Okay it the slow way, make the tank bigger or "better" (first fight)
then begin the 2nd fight of too many people to 1 shower and argue for a seconf time.


ALTERNATIVELY

One fight, one new cubicle electric in line heater/shower 2 birds killed with 1 stone ?

The Rodent