By Anna Tatham
Students living at Dun Holm House are threatening to sue Fresh Property Group as the accommodation remains under construction, despite promises it would be finished by September.
Entry to the site is partially obstructed by safety barriers, scaffolding and temporary iron
stairwells, while some internal facilities, such as the cinema, still remain uncompleted.
Students were offered relocation to the Radisson Hotel by Fresh Student Living.
Rooms can be as much as £215 for a ‘Platinum’ studio river view room, with the cheapest room £145 per week for a ‘Bronze’ ensuite.
The housing company originally promised students entry from 22nd September; however, this was moved to 29th September due to ongoing building work.
In an email to tenants, Fresh Student Living said it ensured the building would be “in tip-top condition” by this date, however, the exterior of the building is still undergoing visible construction work.
The company later made an offer of temporary accommodation in the Radisson Hotel, or two weeks’ free rent while they completed the fitting of communal areas.
Residents were without WiFi until 3rd October and washing facilities were not installed until Tuesday 9th October, although Fresh Student Living provided 4G dongles and offered to pay for external washing charges.
A Dun Holm resident, who wished to remain anonymous, called the accommodation “a rip
off and a scam to gather up as much money asap to pay for the rest of the construction.”
Residents have also complained that the rooms shown in the Fresh Property Group showroom were not representative of the rooms they were given.
“The real room doesn’t exactly look like their picture and showroom. We live with operating construction”, resident Sean Kim said.
Kim described moving in as a “nightmare experience” and called the company “a liar”.
On its website, Fresh Student Living claims that “our specialist teams make everything run like a dream”, however, residents have told Palatinate that staff were dismissive and unaware of the construction schedule.
Palatinate spoke to one resident who has decided to end their lease with Fresh Student Living and move out of Dun Holm House.
“They don’t know what they’re doing as a company… if I don’t get my money back, my dad is going to sue.”
When asked if said resident would live in a Fresh Property Group accommodation again, they said: “not in a million years”.
Builders continue to work on the North Road site, with residents claiming to hear noise from 5am until 11pm in the evening.
The ‘cinema room’ appears to remain unfinished with split beanbags and packaging all over the floor. Fresh Student Living told Palatinate that it had been completed.
Fresh Student Living has provided student accommodation since 2009, and claims 90% of its students to be either very satisfied or satisfied with its services.
A representative from the company told Palatinate: “Durham as a University town has a fantastic accommodation block for students in Dun Holm House.
“We are striving to deliver a high end, high-quality product.
“There’s always going to be one or two teething issues in a new build.”
It acknowledged that some inconvenience had been caused, but argued they had “done everything they can to rectify the issue as quickly as possible”
Fresh Student Living said that the reason for the delay was due to the ongoing £30 million Sir Robert McAlpine development of the Gates complex which shares a site with Dun Holm House.
Robert McAlpine has been contacted for comment but has not yet responded.
Photographs: Anna Tatham