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A university student was left hospitalised after a skin rash broke out all over her body after she moved into her mould-infested halls of residence.
Louise Leslie, 18, has slammed the conditions she has been forced to live in after she started studying at the University of Leicester last September, paying the equivalent of £131 a week in rent.
While Louise has not blamed her living conditions directly for her hospitalisation, shocking pictures reveal the state of the apartment, which included a mouldy fridge in her shared kitchen and damp on the walls.
A spokesperson for the university said they had not been aware of the complaints and that they would be conducting a room check for Louise.
Louise said: "At £131 a week I don't expect a palace, but it should at least be safe to live in. We had two people from the university come round and they said it was our responsibility - but it was like that when we moved in.
"I fear for the health of the next people who move into here. We have done our best to clean it but black bits still start appearing on the walls.
"Other halls are laughing at us and refer to ours as the slums."
Louise broke out in itchy hives - which made her lips swell and left her unable to sleep - making it almost impossible to study for her history and politics degree. Last week she was forced to go to hospital when the itchiness became too unbearable and she has now been prescribed strong antihistamines.
"There have been nights where I can't sleep because it's been so itchy.
"I'm not saying the uni's entirely to blame for that, but it has gotten in the way of my work. I think they should have some responsibility to ensure the accommodation students move into are clean.
Louise said the hives cleared up when she went back home to Kent for Christmas but started again as soon as she moved back to the dorm. She does not have any allergies and believes the hives could have been caused by the unhealthy environment she moved into.
"I have to take four antihistamines which isn't ideal. I've got an appointment with a dermatologist now but all allergy tests have come back clear.
"I don't understand why you're moving students into an area that has health risks. It just seems like they are being rather uncompassionate.
"At the moment this area is not only my living space but my learning environment as well, but its been difficult to focus on my studies and affected by metal health."
While universities have been offering rent refunds to those who have been stuck at home Louise came back to study just before the third lockdown was announced.
She says she believes the institutions are failing those who have stayed and added: "I don't think universities can read the room.
"A lot of universities are giving refunds for students that aren't living at uni the moment, but I think they also need to look out for students that have been there.
"Universities need to take into account that we are human beings. we're not just giving you money and getting a degree out of it; we're coming here for the experience.
"I want my university to be the place and the institution that supports me. And I don't feel I'm getting that. And that actually quite upsets me."
A spokesperson for the University of Leicester said: "The university seeks to maintain a high standard in university-managed accommodation, and we recommend students raise any issues directly with the Accommodation Team in order to address any concerns and provide support.
"We have, regrettably, not previously been informed of these issues raised on social media. We will be conducting a room check for this student in order to pick up any maintenance issues directly.
"We encourage residents who have issue or complaints regarding their accommodation to contact the Accommodation team as soon as possible on [email protected] or to visit their 24/7 site reception in order to help us address all concerns as quickly as possible.
"We offer specific information on complaints and feedback on the University website."
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