Lilian Knowles House postgraduate hall faces serious complaints

By Cameron Baillie

Student residents have complained both publicly and privately to The Beaver of serious mismanagement issues at Lilian Knowles House (LKH). The postgraduate-only hall of residence, located in Spitalfields, is managed by third-party contractor Sanctuary Students; it houses around 360 students exclusively from LSE.

Juliet* shared concerns with The Beaver on the cleaning staff’s unauthorised entry into their bedroom in November. Juliet questioned the cleaner, who claimed that management permits them room access to use residents’ toilets while working. There are public toilets on the LKH premises.

Juliet also found the staff member going through belongings. When questioned by Juliet, the staff member responded that she was two months pregnant and needed sanitary pads, which were reportedly visible elsewhere. The staff member has since been fired, The Beaver is told.

Other students also contacted The Beaver sharing suspicions of similarly unauthorised bedroom entry, citing lifted toilet seats, rogue tissues, and rearranged drawer contents. The Beaver is told that there have been unrequited calls for an official response into questions raised with management by residents, as to which or how many contractor employees have access to bedrooms, at what times, and for what reasons.

Another two residents reported being locked out from their bedrooms in the early hours of 7 January, right before exams. Resident MSc Psychology of Economic Life student Kamana shared that, not for the first time, she reported to a member of reception staff “who didn’t seem bothered at all when [she] told him … [and] waited [until]  he reached an appropriate time on his show to pause and pay attention”.

Kamana was offered a faulty keycard; reception staff eventually proposed she wedge the door open as a solution. The entire ordeal lasted around 40 minutes out of an “already exhausting evening” after studying, running past 3am.

Sonia* also contacted The Beaver to share her experience in late October of reporting bed bugs at LKH. After noticing frequent bites and finding bed bugs, Sonia and her flatmates reported them to management. 

Only long after the initial reports were pest control contacted and bed bugs found in Sonia’s suitcase. She was denied any direct contact with pest control and due to poor communications, disposed of three suitcases valuing “around 250 euros”. Extermination was two weeks after the original complaints, following multiple email interactions.

Another student from LKH, Camille*, complained publicly, criticising management for repeated failures of cleaning services in kitchens, a problem reportedly shared by multiple flats. Although students do not take issue with cleaning themselves, they emphasised being disquieted about paying for unreceived services.

Students also faced flooding in the basement floor of C-Block on 16 October. When MSc International Management & Public Policy student Solenn reported that this was the sixth plumbing incident that month, the head manager replied that “they’re all separate” issues and that “it’s an old building”. 

Management reportedly “don’t do” compensation by reducing rent; students instead received laundry credits.

More flooding footage was shared with The Beaver on 26 November, with water coming through B-Block light fittings at LKH, flooding the flat corridor. Another resident, Hari*, reported being without electricity over the weekend of 15 to 17 December due to flooding.

A manager also reportedly called a maintenance worker “uneducated” and “incompetent” on 28 October. Weekend staff are reportedly frustrated that management neglect adequate checks before moving new students in. Staff complained to residents that management “just don’t care” and maintenance is left to “deal with it later”, The Beaver is told.

Job-search website Indeed has markedly low ratings for job satisfaction at Sanctuary, with lowest-rating reviews for management. They include ‘toxic environment’ and unsupportive management, with cleaners feeling disrespected and underpaid for labour-intensive hours.

Residents have voiced sympathies with apparently overworked staff. Other students contacted The Beaver to amplify positive experiences at LKH, alongside an unfortunate minority’s negative experiences.

*Names have been changed to preserve anonymity.

Photograph from the LSE Website

Cameron covers the complaints within the postgrad Lilian Knowles House halls


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