This story is over 5 years old.


500 More Angry Students Join Rent Strike That Has Cost a University Over £1M

Students at UCL are refusing to pay rent that they see as too high.
Simon Childs
London, GB

UCL students protesting about their rent (Photo by Chris Bethel)

The UCL rent strike received a fillip today as 500 more pissed off students pledged to join the campaign. Last month, 150 students decided to register their concern about soaring rent at their digs by simply refusing to pay it. The boosted numbers of rent-refuseniks means the figure for withheld rent is now over £1million.

According to a press release from UCL Cut the Rent:

"When UCL runs its accommodation with a 45 percent profit margin – over £15,779,000 – yet shows flagrant disregard for socially accessible education while seeking to criminalise access to a home for its own students, UCL Cut the Rent asserts this is only accurately described as a social cleansing of the university."


Apparently the response from management has been to "patronise" and "threaten" students. The students claim that Andrew Grainger, UCL Director of Estates, has stated to rent-striking students that "We don't set our rents on the basis of the least well-off students" and that "some people just simply cannot afford to live in London." Additionally, UCL Management has stated it will pursue evictions against students and, in recent emails, has stated they intend to withdraw licences to occupy hall residences from strikers.

The students' action is supported by the Radical Housing Network. A spokesperson for the campaign group said: "As millions now suffer in the housing catastrophe, the Radical Housing Network stands in full support of the inspiring actions of UCL Rent Strike and will defend students against any attempts at intimidation or eviction with all of the resources at our disposal."

In November, VICE revealed that students won £300,000 in compensation thanks to a strike they held in April. They had been protesting over conditions they deemed "unbearable", because their digs were turned into a noisy construction site with very little notification.


More from VICE:

The Slow Death of Council Housing in the UK

We Asked People in the Street if They Care About PMQs

Anywhere But Here: How Megabus Became Britain's Cheapest Escape Route