Every university or college and private developer who providing halls of residence type accommodation in England and Wales is required to belong to a ‘code of standards’ or be licensed through their local authority.
There are two organisations which run these, one administered by Accreditation Network UK (ANUK) and the other by Universities UK. You can check who your accommodation is signed up with on these websites.
NUS sits on the boards of both codes to ensure their effective running and to feedback from students. The Housing Act 2004 introduced a requirement for all student accommodation in England and Wales to be signed up to a ‘code’ or to be licensed by the Local Authority. Although the legislation only concerns England and Wales, many private providers in Scotland are signed up to the ANUK code.
How do the codes work?
You should expect your accommodation provider to be committed to high standards of management. However, there may be times when accommodation does not meet the standards laid out in the codes. It’s vital this is flagged up as to alert both the accommodation providers but also those managing the codes of the types of problems that are occurring and ensure they are rectified.
Your accommodation manager is required to let you know which codes they’ve signed up to. This may be through information in welcome packs, posters or marketing material around the building(s). You should ensure you are going for accommodation that is signed up to the codes to safeguard you and ensure you get the best possible accommodation.
If you’re not happy with your accommodation, report the issue to your accommodation manager. If you continue to be unhappy you should find out about how to make a complaint and go and speak to your students’ union. If you are in accommodation under the UUK code, the complaint will go through your university or college’s complaints procedure and eventually to the UUK Code board and the OIA (ww.oiahe.org). If your accommodation is under the ANUK code, you should contact the national code administrator.
There is more detailed information on the UUK and ANUK sites regarding how to make a complaint. Remember, if you’ve made a complaint, with your students’ union’s help, but you think your health is in serious danger accommodation manager is not acting appropriately, get in touch with your local council housing or health and safety service.
If you believe a university/college/accommodation provider is behaving really badly and providing terrible accommodation to their students, it is crucial you inform NUS about it. NUS belongs to the UUK and ANUK boards of management, and has the chance to rectify issues for students.