Cold Christmas for freshers evicted from London halls

November 17, 2000

Students from universities across London face eviction three days before Christmas because the private company running their hall of residence is selling it.

Managers of Cartwright Hall in Bloomsbury told some students just days after they had signed year-long tenancy contracts at the beginning of term, that they would have to move out by December 22.

The University of London Students' Union is threatening to take legal action against the owners and has advised students to reject an offer of £500 compensation.

Cartwright Hall is unique in the capital for offering private student accommodation and meals close to London University. While the University of London is helping to find alternative accommodation for the evicted students, some of whom are freshers and foreign students, it has no control over the actions of the management of the hall.

No one has been able to find out how many students are affected, but estimates range from 80 to more than 200. The students are from South Bank and Westminster universities and the London Institute as well as from the University of London.

The case has been passed into the hands of Camden Council's housing action team.

Jenny Gobble, student accommodation officer at the University of London, said: "All we can do is provide support to the students if they are obliged to move out. But the only way they will find accommodation now is with private landlords."

Tom Kinsella, manager of Cartwright Hall, was unable to comment and did not have a contact number for the owners.

Chris Piper, welfare officer at King's College London, which has about 40 students staying in the halls, described the situation as "absolutely disgraceful". He said legal action could follow.

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