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OUSA Launches Flatting Blitz

29 April 2005

OUSA Launches Flatting Blitz

The Otago University Students’ Association flatting blitz will be coming soon to a student hovel near you. Monday 2 May will see the launch of OUSA’s new campaign focussing on substandard student housing in Dunedin. The aim is to educate students about their rights and responsibilities as tenants, and to promote the standards and measures in place to protect students against poor conditions. The Flatting Blitz will be conducted through the OUSA Student Support Centre, where trained advocates are available to help on all flatting issues.

“We are worried that there are a significant number of students in Dunedin living in substandard housing” said OUSA President Steven Sutton, “either because they’re unaware of the DCC’s minimum standards, or because they just don’t know what to do about it.”

OUSA flatting issues spokesman Mark Heine agrees: “Education is the key here – tenants have legal protection available to them and it’s about time we used it.”

Shabby flats have long been part of the legendary scarfie lifestyle, but according to Sutton “the situation out there is getting ridiculous. I mean, no-one’s going to worry about a bit of cheerful squalor here and there, but far too many students are living in flats that are actually dangerous and detrimental to their health.”

According to a 2003 report, nearly all the student flats surveyed in Dunedin had average temperatures well below the World Health Organisation’s recommended minimum healthy indoor temperature of 16 degrees Celsius.

Students who are worried that their flat fails to meet the DCC’s minimum standards can pick up a pamphlet from around campus, or drop into OUSA’s Student Support Centre where advice and support will be available. OUSA’s advocates are committed to improving the flatting situation for students, and are trained in the various measures available to help students trapped in poor flats, including the Tenancy Tribunal and Dunedin City Council’s Environmental Health officers.


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