• Thu. May 30th, 2024

Maintenance issues at university Domus flats 

ByLara van Vorst

Nov 10, 2023

The University of Edinburgh offers a rental service called Domus, for students who are looking for accommodation after first year. Through Domus, the University is the official tenant of the property and serves as an intermediary between the landlord and the actual tenants. 

61 per cent of Domus residents however, say they are not content with the maintenance service. In several cases, it seems as though that service is failing. 

In a survey conducted by The Student, Domus residents said they had issues with mould; heating and plumbing problems, old or broken furniture and appliances; sparking sockets; wallpaper coming off; broken doors and windows; and pest issues. 

One student reported a mouse problem, and another said that after the windows didn’t properly close, their flat had a “pigeon infestation.” 

The responses and results of reporting those problems varied. Almost 70 per cent were unhappy with the time it took for someone to get back to them or to fix a problem.

Read More: Edinburgh students face increasing issue with mould

The Student has spoken to one Domus resident who said the management was quick to resolve issues at the beginning, but it has gotten worse over time. 

“They were very quick to resolve stuff that I pointed out immediately as I moved in.”

“There were stains on all the walls and there was a lot of stained furniture, but I got a painter to paint the whole flat.” 

“That was good at the start, but it seems as time has gone on, they have not bothered as much.” 

“We have had a couple of issues, which have eventually been resolved but it has been very slow.”

While one student said that people were sent over quickly to deal with problems, some stated that the issues got resolved eventually while others said their complaints were mostly ignored:

“They would tell us someone was coming to see it and then nobody would come.”

Read More: “The mould turned out to be toxic.” Horror stories from EUSA’s ‘Let’s Talk: Housing Crisis’

One student, who had a broken desk in their room said they heard nothing for months.

“Until one day a guy appears at the door with four dusty planks of wood for me – they sent an Ikea style build your own desk with no screws or pins to connect them and no instructions.”

Others said they received advice such as opening the windows to deal with mould, even in the winter or to simply “turn the heating up.”

Despite a lot of negative responses, some pointed out that they had had good experiences while living in Domus accommodations.

“I had no issues. I actually had a really positive experience in my Domus flat. [I] rented with [another agency] in other years and my experience with Domus was much better.” 

“The rent is cheap and the university’s accommodation service is slightly faster than the average landlord at fixing stuff.” 

Read More: Edinburgh Council set to declare a housing emergency

In many instances, smaller issues were resolved very quickly but bigger issues like mould tended to take longer or were simply ignored.

Many students agreed that the state of their flat and the experience people can have while renting with Domus varies.

“They’re an extremely mixed bag – some are fine while others are genuinely awful.” 

“They are decent, but it is very dependent on what flat you get, and it was probably just as much a hassle as dealing with a private landlord.”

On their website, Domus states:

“We are the primary contact for tenants and in the event of a complaint or repair request, we ensure that our contractors deal with the issue efficiently and professionally and keep you up to date with relevant information.”

“Our service is specifically designed to absorb these pressures and concerns, creating a level of trust between the landlord and the tenants, ensuring a smooth lease term.”

In a statement to The Student, Domus said: 

“We are aware of maintenance issues at some of our student accommodation and would like to express our sincere apologies to the residents who have been affected by this.”

“We strive to address such incidents as swiftly as possible and, where appropriate, rehouse students as the works are completed.”

“Maintenance inspections are currently underway, and we strongly encourage residents to reach out to the Domus team if they have any concerns so that we can address these issues promptly.”

Buccleuch Street” by angus mcdiarmid is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.