Students at University College London have threatened to withhold as much as £200'000 in rent due to 'unbearable' living conditions caused by the building work happening at Hawkridge House in Kentish Town, north London.
Many students have exams starting at the end of April, but say that is impossible to revise with all the hammering and drilling, and feel that their privacy has been invaded by builders 'chatting, singing and shouting' outside their bedroom windows. Others say that the noise and dust is triggering migraines and breathing problems.
The 14 storey tower, which is home to more than 230 students, is being refurbished to repair storm damage dating back to 2013, but the project has overrun by months. Tenants say they were told works would be finished by January, and given little warning of the scale of disruption when they signed for their flats.
A law master's student, who wished to remain anonymous, said that: 'the entire student experience has just gone down the drain. Most of us are international students and will go home with a poor impression of living circumstances in London. My exams are just about to start and I'm sure my studies will be affected.'
The UCL student union advised them to withhold rent unless the university takes steps to improve the situation - a significant sum given that the university charges £132.20 per week per person. Following the threat, UCL announced yesterday that it will suspend work until the coming exams are over, and said that they 'will consider requests for compensation.'