Construction workers and construction equipment still fill the corridors and entry hall of Xior’s new student housing complex, situated in a corner of Woudestein Campus. Construction was supposed to be completed by 1 October, but wasn’t. The inhabitants (all international students) have started a petition against the poor living conditions at the complex. IBA student Yoyo Lam (21, Hong Kong) said on the 2nd of October, “I still don’t have any heating in my room, and winter is getting closer and closer.” By now, the rental company, Xior, has made the students a few promises of improvement and Lam’s heating has been fixed.
Giorgio Chiara and Jan Pogorzelski initiated the petition, which was signed by half (125) of the inhabitants of the Xior building. “Xior offered the students a one-off discount of 175 euros, but we feel this doesn’t make up for the inconvenience experienced by students in the last month, which continues to be experienced even now,” said Chiara.
“We demand a rent reduction for the months of construction work, a remission of the costs of the services we are paying for but aren’t getting, a date by which construction will be completed, and last but definitely not least, unlimited Internet data so that we can keep in touch with our families and properly carry out our study assignments,” stated Pogorzelski. Last Tuesday, Chiara and Pogorzelski represented the inhabitants of the Xior building at a meeting with Xior’s property development officer.
Ongoing construction work
Students have been living in the Xior housing complex since early September. At the time, the entire ground floor was still to be completed, and a lot of things in the rooms were still missing or broken. “The entire building will be completed by the end of September,” Xior spokesman Robin Cremers said in early September. However, the company was unable to keep this promise.
To this day, the corridors are filled with construction workers’ stepladders, tools and boomboxes, and every morning at 7am, the inhabitants of the building are awoken by the sound of electric drills. It is making it very hard for the international students to focus. Says Pogorzelski, “The construction workers are noisy, smoke in the corridors and have no respect for the students’ privacy. They enter rooms without knocking and leave behind mud and dirt.”
In addition, the students are being made to pay for spaces and services with which they have not been provided. “According to our contract, we are paying for communal rooms, but these rooms have not yet been completed,” says Chiara. “Furthermore, we are paying for garden maintenance.” Chiara shakes his head in disbelief. “There is no garden.”
No unlimited Internet data
Xior spokesman Robin Cremers met the students halfway on some issues last Tuesday afternoon. The students will not be required to pay for services they are not receiving. In addition, he gave them a date by which construction will supposedly be completed: 13 October. But he also admitted that some things are beyond the planners’ control in construction work.
His argument for the Internet data limit was that it had been implemented to prevent illegal downloading. He was unable to make any promises regarding the requested rent reduction (to make up for the inconvenience caused by the construction work), as he will have to discuss this with Xior’s board first.
Pogorzelski and Chiara had positive feelings after the meeting, although they were not impressed with Cremers’ argument regarding the data limit and were forced to conclude that he had not made many actual promises. “Our sticking point is the heating in our rooms. If that issue isn’t solved in one week, we will increase pressure on Xior,” said Chiara.