Students have returned to living in Fife Park despite the need for refurbishment.
Fife Council has told the University that it must refurbish the properties by 2014 to meet legal requirements. The houses consisted of six residents who shared a kitchen and bathroom, but the council required this ratio to be lowered. Fife Council currently states that in order to gain an HMO licence “there shall be one watercloset for every five persons living in the premises.”
Last year, students were moved from the hall to allow for potential refurbishment and it was decided that Fife Park would be taken out of commission in its entirety from the start of the second semester of 2013.
The houses are now around 40 years old and according to the University there were a “number of elements that need to be upgraded and replaced.” Most residents were moved to Agnes Blackadder Hall and David Russell Apartments as there was a surplus of rooms during the last academic year.
But new students are now living in the Fife Park houses for the academic year 2013-2014. A single house was refurbished over the summer but work has now stopped and a new solution to the problem has been found.
Deputy senior student of DRAFP Edward Coombe said: “To comply with the change in HMO, Fife park only has five people living in the six- bedroom houses, with the 6th room locked.”
Mr Coombe added: “The plan was to remove everyone and redevelop all the houses in the summer. Students were informed on the website and by word of mouth that this was the plan.
“For unknown reasons the money did not appear to be available for the redevelopment and so after one house, it was stopped.”
Although the houses now comply with the regulations, there has been little refurbishment elsewhere to update the them. Two students said that some things were broken when they moved into their new homes.
Many are also disappointed with the lack of awareness about what will be happening to the buildings. The website states that: “Due to the timing of the works it is possible that there may have to be a rolling programme after the summer vacation, with some students being accommodated in existing pre-refurbished properties and then being required to move to re- furbished properties as they become available.
“The purpose of this information is to alert you to the situation and to inform you of the potential implication for you as a resident of accepting a place in Fife Park so that you can make an informed decision.”
Some of the new students said that they only knew about the potential of disruption because they read it on the website or because it had been spread through word of mouth. Many said that they had not been told directly by the University about the possibility of ongoing work and were unsure if they would face a disruptive move to new accommodation in the future.
The University is still considering what to do with the properties and a long term solution has not yet been found. The University was unavailable to provide a comment.