Leeds student describes 'atrocious' experience at accommodation amid alleged spate of crime

A Leeds student said she feels 'imprisoned' in her accommodation amid allegations of a spate of robberies.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 5:40 pm

The student - who has chosen to remain anonymous - is living at Marsden House iQ accommodation in Leeds.

She said her experience so far has been "atrocious" and the accommodation has been the subject of robberies and break-ins in recent days.

The student said her concerns had been "dismissed" when she reached out to management of the accommodation.

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iQ Marsden House

A fire exit was allegedly 'chained shut' at the accommodation recently, as reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post.

According to the student, fault appliances are installed in the rooms and students are begging to leave the accommodation already - but are bound by contracts.

A spokesperson for iQ said students are encouraged to report any crime to the police so that they are able to investigate and they always fully support the authorities who investigate incidents on site.

A “no guest” policy is in place at Marsden House as a result of the government’s latest COVID alert level measures.

Students are aware of this, the spokesperson said.

However, the student said her experience so far had been "nothing but trouble".

She told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "It feels as though we are imprisoned here with no option to leave, tied to contracts.

"As if covid-19 hasn’t had a big enough impact on the mental health of students, the experience we’ve had here has been atrocious so far.

"We were informed by other residents that there were several break ins, some including altercations and some with just robberies.

"At no point have Marsden come to any of its residents to put its mind as ease or explain the situation at hand.

"When I tried to reach out to Marsden my concerns were dismissed and I was told they couldn’t discuss it and handed me a security number.

"Speaking of security, they haven’t helped in any way in my personal opinion and according to several people they allow non-residents in, a danger during a pandemic or otherwise.

"Among other common issues are unacceptable fridge spaces, illegally closing a fire with cable ties which has now been resolved and faulty appliances.

"The experience has been nothing but trouble.

"For many residents here at Marsden, it’s our first time away from home and experiencing university life.

"I’ve found others who feel the same and wish to leave Marsden but we are bound by contracts."

The spokesperson for iQ said they are reinforcing with students the need to be vigilant as they come into the building so as not to allow non-residents to gain entry by tailgating them.

The accommodation said they keep security provision under review and over the weekend we will be further enhancing security presence around the site, in order to provide extra reassurance to students.

They said they are in the process of phoning any concerned students to discuss the actions we are taking, and anything else we can do to help them feel at ease.

In a statement provided to the Yorkshire Evening Post, an iQ spokesperson said: “The safety of our residents is our highest priority and our staff – including security – are on site to support students around the clock.

"We take any allegations extremely seriously. We encourage students to report any incidents to the police and will always cooperate fully with any investigations.”

Inspector Andy Loftus, who heads the Leeds North West Neighbourhood Policing Team, said the force are "aware of a number of recent incidents within the student community" and "have responded accordingly to ensure any offences are appropriately investigated".

Inspector Loftus continued: “We have a long-standing positive relationship with the universities and the student community, and our student liaison officers play a key role in our ongoing work to keep students safe during their time in Leeds.

“Some of the recent issues we have seen relate to large gatherings or parties which are in breach of the current Coronavirus regulations.

"This remains a critical point for the city and it is vital that people stick to the restrictions to keep themselves and the wider community safe.”

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