Less than half of students surveyed had carbon monoxide detectors in their accommodation. In addition, the percentage of GU students that did not have a smoke detector in their student housing and accommodation was double the UK average, with 1/5 properties not fulfilling this legal requirement.
The statistics showed that the percentage of Glasgow University students that had problems with rats in their housing and accommodation was four times the national average for students; with nearly ¼ of GU students having had a problem with them. The average levels of mould were high throughout the UK with ½ of all students having a problem with it. GU students had considerably lower levels of mould than the average, with 38% of people encountering problems with it.
56% of students attending Glasgow University felt that they had been taken advantage of by landlords and estate agents when they were looking for student accommodation. GU students were shown to have more difficulty than the average UK student in getting their deposits back on their last student house: 1/3 did not have their deposit returned to them and a further 29% had difficulty in getting theirs returned, with landlords taking three months or even longer to repay them.
Jess McGrellis, SRC Vice President for student support, was concerned with the results shown. She said: “It is well established that the standard of private rented accommodation around Glasgow leaves a lot to be desired, if anyone is concerned about the standards or safety of their property, they should consider reporting their concerns to either the HMO Unit or the landlord registration scheme if the property is not HMO licensed. If it is a repairs issue, then there is an application process through the Private Rented Housing Panel. Students can come to the SRC advice centre to find out about any of these schemes.”
McGrellis continued on to say: “No properties should have mice, rats or cockroaches which go untreated! Infestations can be difficult to get rid of completely, but if landlords don’t take any action whatsoever, tenants can complain to the council environmental health section. Unfortunately mould can be a little less straightforward to deal with if there are ventilation problems, which can conflict with keeping a property secure if the only ventilation option available is to open a window. Once again, the SRC advice centre can help with any questions about this.”
Carbon monoxide, colloquially known as the “silent killer”, is an odourless, colourless gas. It is formed when there is not enough oxygen available during combustion to produce carbon dioxide. In carbon monoxide poisoning, it takes the place of oxygen in haemoglobin so that oxygen cannot be carried in the blood. Detectors are recommended for all buildings and are a legal requirement in many countries, including Northern Ireland. Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) licensed properties, that is, properties that have three or more unrelated tenants living together, must have fire doors, extinguishers and a fire blanket in the kitchen in addition to the smoke detectors required in all rental accommodation.