Council Deputy Leader writes to uni management over removal of tenants

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The Deputy Leader of Stirling Council has written to the university about the situation around students leaving accommodation.

Stirling North Councillor Danny Gibson emailed the university over their handling of tenants removing their belongings.

After reading the university’s comment on Brig’s article, Cllr Gibson revealed he was concerned about the statement.

In his letter Cllr Gibson references the Scottish Government guidelines on university accommodation:

“If a student is unable to move out of their accommodation or collect their possessions, either because they are self-isolating or otherwise unable to travel, accommodation providers should store their items for collection at a future date.”

Gibson continues by saying: “I am very concerned that you say the University will ‘facilitate safe storage’ and I have been aware that you are advising students of removal and storage companies rather than offering to do this yourselves as expected (which i would prefer the University do).

“or covering these costs if you want to hire companies to do so to meet your obligations to tenants.”

Cllr Gibson has called on the university to cover the cost of storing students’ belongings. Credit: Brig Newspaper/Harry Williamson

Cllr Gibson also says the guidelines make it clear “accommodation providers should store their items’, not ‘might’ or ‘could’ and certainly not merely provide removal company details.”

He asked that the University urgently review their position and make it clear to all tenants they will store their items as obligated to do, or given the incorrect information… pay for any costs incurred by anyone who has followed this incorrect advice… until you can have items returned to University storage.”

The Deputy leader of Stirling Council also asked the University to clarify their position when they stated: “the university is unable to store students’ belongings indefintely”.

The university clarified earlier if students get in touch with them by July 10th explaining their situation, their belongings will not be disposed of.

Volunteers have been helping students move their belongings out of accommodation. Credit: Brig Newspaper/Harry Williamson

He asks the university to: “make clear that items will be stored until necessary (regardless of 10th July) and not dispose of unless without the tenants agreement (a small number may have left items they don’t wish or need again).

Cllr Gibson also asked for leniency for UK residents and asks the university also guarantee any to tenants the safe packing and storage of their belongings if they are not able to do this themselves within the 12 day period they are asking.

He asks if he can assist any tenant affected by this situation to contact him on gibsond@stirling.gov.uk.

The University made the controversial decision of asking students to leave accommodation by July 12 so that it could be deep cleaned which worried international students who had left their belongings in accommodation but couldn’t return due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

The Stirling Students Tenants Union mobilised volunteers to pack and store students’ belongings who can’t make it over to Scotland.

You can contact them via their facebook, or by contacting one of their officers.

A university spokesperson said: “In response to COVID-19, and to protect the health and wellbeing of students moving into our accommodation for the new semester, we are conducting a deep clean of all of our rooms.

“To facilitate this work, former tenants who left belongings in their rooms have been asked to advise the University whether they intend to uplift their items.

“Eighty-five percent of affected students have already made contact with the University to outline their intentions and we are proactively trying to contact those students we have not yet heard from. 

“We have put in place a structured system enabling the collection of personal effects from our residences safely, in line with guidance set out by the Scottish Government.

“Where students are unable to collect their possessions, the University has been flexible by offering alternative dates for items to be collected, and has also suggested a number of commercial options that students may wish to consider.

“No student has been denied storage of their possessions where their circumstances prevent them from travelling to Stirling, or where a commercial option is unsuitable.

“However, items cannot be stored indefinitely, so it is important that students engage as soon as possible to discuss their personal circumstances and to agree an option that works best for them.”

Feature Image Credit: – Brig Newspaper/Harry Williamson

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