Student housing issues lead to protests by those affected

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Revolutionary Student Movement’s (RSM) Waterloo chapter organized a student housing rally that took place on Sept. 23 after a massive data leak of over 6000 maintenance requests that came from the tenant portal for users living in buildings owned by Accomad8U, especially pertaining to many buildings on Albert Street.

Although almost 800 students had said they were interested in attending the event, the weather had deterred many participants and less than one-tenth of those who said they were going to attend the rally at Waterloo City Hall were present.

Many students have personal horror stories of situations they had lived have been in with bugs, asbestos, broken appliances and other unsafe living conditions that weren’t getting fixed by their landlord or property owners for months if it all, though the average costs of student housing is roughly around $600 a month.

“All of my roommates are still students, I have been very aware of these issues, even since my first year seeing the amount of buildings that have gone up and the amount of houses that have been bought from locals and converted back into rentals is really obvious that the environment in the city is changing,” said Colin Chin, one of the organizers of the rally and Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo campus alum.

Many students have personal horror stories of situations they had lived have been in with bugs, asbestos, broken appliances and other unsafe living conditions that weren’t getting fixed by their landlord or property owners for months if it all, though the average costs of student housing is roughly around $600 a month.

“All of us have heard horror stories about rental properties and bad experiences with renting and landlords, it’s always been an issue, it happens all over the world but right now with the recent scandals and data leaks it’s been a lot of attention on it and now is the time where people need to make a change.”

In the Accomod8U data leak, maintenance requests from December of 2017 were leaked from not only the renting company but also KW4Rent and Prica Global, which are all owned by the same parent company Prica Global Enterprises. Not only were in-unit issues not resolved, but also tenants also had problems with move-in dates with new properties under the parent company such as new building TheHub, where students were promised units would be ready for move-in yet had to be put up in hotels for weeks.

“We want our voices to be heard in terms of city council, that’s why we’re having people bring testimonials and their own stories, we also have the data about the Accomod8U leak, on a wider scope we want to show the range rental companies have in this city and bring it to their attention that it’s a systemic issue, it’s not just single companies and landlords but it’s students haven’t had protection for a long time,” Chin said.

The hope for the rally was to bring the attention to city council members that many young students are exploited as tenants because of their inexperience in renting, with many cases of unsuitable housing not being dealt with until a parent gets involved with the company.

Students will continue to be their own advocates for safe and suitable living situations, working with both their property owners and the city to ensure young people are no longer being taken advantage of in the Waterloo housing market.

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