I am doing this even though I have been warned by my accommodation that action will be given if anything about Panda House is put onto the internet. Which proves to you that they know this would not do well for their business.
I am currently living at a Panda House on commercial road central London, it is a very good distance from my university of London Metropolitan, however this is the only good thing about it. I pay 160 pounds a week for a tiny bedroom with a tiny sink and tiny fridge. I share a kitchen and 4 toilets and 4 showers with 12 other people on my floor. This in itself is overpriced for what is given to us.
I had gone through clearing and was desperate for accommodation, the ad for this place told me that each room was a studio room with a wonderful view of London. It is a tiny cell of a room with a view of a wall. It also said there would be a cinema room AND a common room. There is one common room which lacked anything but seating for at least a month after I had moved in and no 'cinema room'. There was one picture available on the website of the accommodation and it looked like luxury, yet when I arrived the outside of the building did not resemble that of a student accommodation but more like a small dirty block of flats. The inside looked brand new however and quite appealing but not yet finished. Therefore suggesting the picture was a phony as the building had not yet been finished.
I was rushed to sign a contract I had no time to read, if I had read it I would have found that it was not a complete contract and things would be added to it when I was living there and much more holes. Therefore proving you should read before you sign.
Since living here (8 months now) I and other residents have noticed the building falling apart, which tells us that they simply plastered and painted an old building. So what it may turn into in the future is worrying.
The management is constantly trying to conjure up new ways to get money from the residents, examaples include: if you leave your plain white piece of plastic they call a door key in your room, probably because the extremely heavy door has pushed you put of your room, or simply because you forget every time you go to the loo or shower you have to take the plastic card with you. They will charge you one pound to let you back into your room where your key is. However if this happens on a weekend where there are no staff they will charge you ten pounds!!! That or you find the resident with the master key that a member of staff has cheekily given to them. This is worrying enough as this means that a resident has access to your room...not that this is any different to staff entering your room without consent anyway. I once had a complaint of a leaking radiator and when I arrived from uni people had been in my room moved and moved my furniture...while they tried to fix it they still did not ask my permission. Another example is after months of living there they decided to put fire escape plans in our rooms, and did this when I was not in and without asking. I have also heard from many residents that staff have entered there rooms when they have been asleep without knocking. Another plan to get money is changing the rules, the website told us we had a roof terrace and that we had access to it. Less than a month of living there and a charge of fifty pounds had been added if anyone was found on the roof terrace. A pool table was later added to the common room with a charge of 50p which was deemed unfair as on the website the common room was promised entertainment but with no mention of a charge. Another is after sharing 3 washers and dryers with 50 people four new ones suddenly appeared and after there existence of a month one of the dryers suddenly cost 2 pounds to use unlike all the rest of one pound. There is no explanation of this. More recently is if rent is late, everyday it is late an extra 35 pounds is added to the bill. I highly expect stupid costs to be taken out of my deposit also.
The main issue I have is that the management will never sort out a problem, no matter what it is. The main management are never here and do not care for your problems. When I managed to get in contact via text message to who I thought was the owner of the building, he would constantly shrug off my complaints and tell me to tell somebody else. He would then refuse to reply to my messages. This to me is terrible management.
This is a terrible terrible terrible place to live and I do not recommend it to anybody!!!! If you wish to continue reading it is simply a copy and paste of the petition I created listing nearly all the problems. This petition received 40/50 residents' signatures, the nine signatures I did not get were because most of these people spent as much time as possible not in the accommodation. One resident did not want to sign because she was only living there for 2 months and did not feel she had a decent opinion.
The aim of this petition is to make PH management aware of the disapproval and discomfort of the residents living at Panda House.
All those who have signed the petition agree that there are issues and that they are unhappy with some of the aspects of the living arrangement.
Issues raised are as follows.
- Continuous internet problems
- Heavy/broken doors
- Toasters and kettles do not work
- Lights in rooms that do not work (117 did not have a main light for 3 weeks)
- Automatic lights in the hallways no longer work, or are too slow.
- Radiator noise- now rectified
- Entry into rooms without permission or liable excuse (see point 9.1 of contract)
- Door keys: Poor design no visible distinction between door keys (easy to mix up) Some door keys have failed to work multiple times (room 207)
- Charge for access into room if locked out. Because of automatic lock when door closes, and the doors being heavy enough to accidentally close on residents, it is extremely easy to lock yourself out and the charge is unfair.
- The extra charge if locked out of room on the weekends.
- Unexplained extra charge for one of the washing machines
- washing machines and dryers constantly being out of use, not enough washers and dryers between 50 people
- No double glazing
- Lifts do not work.
- Leaks on ground floor and second floor, resulting in residents not being able to use their sinks.
- Pages missing in original contract which were later added after resident had already signed the contract.
- No real support or relationship between most of the management and residents.
- When issues are raised, we are told that it will be sorted within the next week, and it is either not solved at all or months later. (example: broken cupboard 113)
- Not enough plug sockets in rooms and poorly placed.
- Plugs do not reach holes in kitchen sinks.
- Limited cupboard space.
- Cracks forming in walls.
- Exposed hot pipes in rooms resulting in no control over temperature in room.
- False advertising: the only picture shown on the website was of a different accommodation and unofficial, and on arrival the building had not been fully refurbished. It also stated on the website that the roof terrace was available to residents; this has changed from at fifty pound fine if residents are found on roof terrace to no access at night.
- Live rodents spotted on ground floor, and residents not told when poison was put down.
- Feminine hygiene bins were not issued for at least 4 weeks, when this issue was raised the resident was told that they had been ordered, the bins were later discovered in the basement. Bins are still not in all cubicles.
- Smaller single rooms have been allocated to residents who are sharing.
- Unfair pricing: a larger room with double bed and en suite has been allocated to a resident paying for a single room.
- Wet paint signs were not placed, resulting in paint on clothing.
- Only one small fridge is allocated to shared rooms, also one sink.
- Residents are unhappy with the amount of rule changing; examples include the times residents are allowed in the courtyard, where residents are allowed to smoke.
- Residents are also unhappy about the charge for the pool table. Quote from resident ‘you’re using every way to take money from residents, as if we’re not paying enough.
The last three points were made specifically from residents when asked if there were any other issues they would like to add.
Residents also noted that there faith in Panda House to take notice of this petition and do anything about the problems was very low. Even so we feel that these problems should not be ignored and residents should not feel that they should deal with these problems on their own.
We hope this petition may help the management create a better and friendlier accommodation for future residents.
Another copy has been made of this petition, and will be kept for future notice.