Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Firm rapped over Portsmouth Stanhope House delay

Stanhope House
Image caption The upper floors of Stanhope House in central Portsmouth still awaiting completion

A property firm has breached a student housing code of conduct following delays to a new £30m development in Portsmouth, a charity has found.

More than 250 students were placed in alternative accommodation when Stanhope House was not ready at the start of the academic year.

Portsmouth University reported Prime Student Living (PSL) for failing to meet charity Unipol's recommendations.

The company said the "vast majority" of students had now moved in.

The 17-storey central Portsmouth development was advertised as having 138 studio apartments and 118 en-suite flats, with charges of up to £10,600 a year.

About 40 students still have not been given the keys to their rooms, the university said.

'Inordinate delay'

The university said it had been assured that all students would have moved in by 11 November, but some were now not likely to be in before Christmas.

It said the missed deadlines were "wholly unacceptable" and communication from the company was "inadequate".

"PSL must face up to their moral, social and legal responsibilities to our students," it added.

Martin Blakey, chief executive of Unipol, said Prime Student Living had breached its code of conduct which it had signed up to, on how firms should deal with delays and dealing with affected students.

"We are concerned that this is an inordinate delay and it has not been well handled. When people were given dates [the company] should stick to them - I feel very sorry for the students."

Unipol was set up in the 1970s to provide advise to students renting in the private sector. It runs a number of accreditation schemes to improve standards in student housing.

Image copyright Prime Student Living
Image caption The Prime Student Living website advertised "deluxe ensuite" studio accommodation

In a statement Prime Student Living said the delays were "outside its control" and remaining floors would be handed over from the contractor "as soon as possible pending quality review and statutory safety checks".

"The vast majority of students are now settled in their rooms, having been given compensation, and having benefitted from refund payments for expenses incurred during their stay in temporary alternative accommodation," it added.

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