Students at the University of Sussex have negotiated a deal with management and have been awarded £64,000 in compensation just four days after calling a rent strike.

The strike came after a third of the residents supported by the Brighton branch of ACORN renters’ union took action to withhold rent payments until repairs were carried out and residents were compensated for noise disruption caused by ongoing building work. The University promised to consider these concerns following the strike, commenting: “we are in active discussions with the Students’ Union and directly with our students about these (issues)”.

The petition included, immediate and total repair of all maintenance issues reported by tenants, compensation of £100 per month for the duration of construction works, provision of a free travel card for every resident given the increased need to commute to the main campus and compensation for all expenses incurred by tenants owing to accommodation faults, all of which seem to be, campaigners claim, now met by the University.

ACORN renters’ union who supported the strike said: “The deal includes £515 of compensation per student, alongside a guarantee that all necessary repairs will be carried out before the beginning of the Spring term and that the process for reporting problems with accommodation will be totally redesigned.”

Akane Hirabayashi, a first-year student and Kings Road resident said: “It’s a huge victory. I can’t believe we’ve won so fast!  The residents of Kings Road are thrilled that our demands have been met in full. We are very happy that the University has proven so willing to listen to the concerns of students.”

Duncan Michie, ACORN organiser and third year Sussex student said: “This deal is an impressive victory for the union. We’re proud to have been able to protect our members’ interests and prove that real power comes from organising and taking action”. 

The University has been contacted for further comment.

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