Uni halls horror stories that’ll make you wince

For lots of people, living in university halls holds strong memories, both the good and the bad.

Halls can be where you can meet some of your best friends for life, get the independence you’ve been craving for and have as much fun as your student loan allows.

Young adults laughing and eating pizza.
Living with strangers for the first time can bring a whole host of new experiences

It can also be a place where piled up dishes, spaghetti on the walls and strange smells in the fridge are an everyday feature. There are housemates who you can’t escape the sight of and others who you catch the rare glimpse of at 3am, as they heat up their noodles.

Either way, living with strangers for the first time is an experience most won’t forget. Here are some gruesome, awkward and cringeworthy stories from those who have experienced the life of university halls.

The shopping trolley that became the new kitchen sink - Daniel, 27

If you were looking to stay in a spotless flat without grime or mess, then university halls probably aren’t for you. Daniel lived in a uni halls flat with 12 other people, all sharing a kitchen, and says that the sink and kitchen worktops were always full of dirty utensils. Even a ‘happy one week birthday’ sign in honour of the dirty dishes didn’t encourage the culprits to clean.

A sink full of empty dirty dishes.
You might need to get used to cleaning up after yourself at uni

Instead, they came up with a creative solution for more space. Daniel returned to the flat one day to find a shopping trolley hauled up three flights of stairs. Within a week the trolley was full of more dirty utensils; within two weeks, it was covered in mould with an unbearable smell.

The ordeal of the gruesome flat became more bearable when a random inspection ordered the trolley to go and the flat to be cleaned. The kitchen apparently remained relatively dirty for the rest of the year, but not to the scale of the mouldy shopping trolley.

Chilli in the hoover - Harry, 20

For lots of students, fun with new housemates is part of the experience of living in halls. However, when it’s taken too far, it can be costly, as Harry and his flatmates found out.

Harry says one of his flatmates made some chilli con carne before a night out and spilled it all over the floor. Instead of using a mop and bucket to clean, the flatmate used a vacuum cleaner. Sure enough it clogged up and was broken for good.

A man using a vacuum cleaner on the floor.
Tip: Don’t use a vacuum cleaner to clean food with liquids

The issue was made worse later in the evening, when someone jumped and accidentally knocked a light protector off the ceiling, smashing it in the process. The housemates woke the following morning to an inspector who ordered them to repay for the broken items. They even had to pay a cleaner to clear the original mess.

The prankster who got pranked - Katie, 22

Halls can also be a theatre for many student pranks. If you can make it to the end of the academic year without your housemates getting you at least once, you can count yourself lucky. Sometimes there’s that one housemate whose antics gets everyone, but they seem to avoid any pranks coming their way.

A group of young adults having a pillow fight and throwing popcorn.
If you’re going to prank others then be prepared for revenge

Karma caught up with Katie’s housemate who apparently saw himself as a top prankster in the flat. His shenanigans came back to haunt him on his 21st birthday, when he returned after a weekend away to find a thick layer of cling film around every item in his room. TV, bed, toilet - you name it and it was wrapped in clingfilm.

For the final piece of his present, he was given a pair of scissors, also wrapped in clingfilm with all of the kitchen knives hidden away. There’s two rules to learn from this: you’re never safe from pranks, and always lock your room.

The housemate who flooded the house - Matt, 26

Picture this: you’re on your way home from lectures in a glorious mood as it’s approaching the end of the first semester. You walk into your room and find water gushing through the roof onto all of your belongings. This is what one of Matt’s housemates was faced with.

A sink overflowing.
It’s the stuff of nightmares for Matt’s housemate, but at least he was insured

This nightmare situation started when the water was turned off for repairs. The housemate in the room above had turned the tap on, didn’t turn it off again when she noticed the water wasn’t running and forgot about it. She came back several hours later to find the sink had overflowed, and the bathroom and bedroom were flooded.

Luckily for her, all her belongings were either hung up or on the bed and so escaped the water. The housemate on the ground floor wasn’t so lucky, though, with a lot of his belongings being damaged or ruined by the water.

The phantom pooper - Ellie, 25

A woman pinching her nose from the smell.
Why wouldn’t you flush? Or at least use toilet paper?

There are some things at student halls that you’ll never understand. Whether it’s the identity of the flatmate who only ever appears to collect a pizza delivery or the endless mounting of dishes that nobody will take ownership of, some of the mysteries of student halls are best left unsolved (maybe).

In Ellie’s house, it was the mystery of the phantom pooper. She says that every morning a “big, old poop” was left in the toilet without any loo roll or anything. This went on for around six months, on and off, with no sign of who was to blame. An internal investigation started with every resident questioned, but the culprit could not be found. Eventually the daily poops subsided and the smell in the shared bathroom returned to a normal level.

So there you have it: to ensure your stay in halls doesn’t become a health and safety nightmare or unforgettable for all the wrong reasons, remember to close your taps, flush the toilet and hide your clingfilm.

Freshers’ Week clichés (and how not to be one)
Long-distance friendships: When to keep them going and when to take a step back
Six movies that don't get life at university quite right