Kat Clementine

“I could not believe my ears when I called the Landlord to ask him if he’d seen my laptop anywhere, for him to pronounce that he was keeping it!”

Anoushka Bastin, a Business Studies student, had a rocky start to her second year at Brunel. She’s just one of many students who’s study is affected by problems with accommodation off-campus.

21-year-old Anoushka found herself ‘homeless’ at the start of the academic year when a group rental fell through.

Panicking as the start of term loomed, she took a chance on a room she found through an advert on the Internet.

“After one week, I realised I’d made a huge mistake. It was just the landlord and me in the house. I had no idea there would be such a suffocating and suppressed feeling in the property.”

Anoushka had paid £920, a month’s rent and a deposit, without signing a tenancy agreement and when she wanted to leave after just one week, the landlord became very angry and threatened her with legal action.

“I lost a lot of sleep, and became more moody and difficult with my friends and family because of the whole situation. It was extremely depressing and disturbing.”

The landlord started demanding extra money, took Anoushka’s suitcase and laptop as ‘security’ and kept asking her to hand over her passport.

After having the courage to leave the property she realised her laptop, filled with university work and photos, was missing.

Luckily, Anoushka was able to seek help and advice from the landlord of the property she had planned to live in.

Shahina Waseem, an Uxbridge landlady, visited the property with Anoushka and spoke to the difficult landlord face and face.

Anoushka said, “He reluctantly passed the laptop back to me. The whole experience cost me over £900 for a week of staying in the room and a heap of stress and anxiety. If I’d been able to contact previous tenants it would have spared me a lot of trouble and stress.”