As the temperatures have dipped down near freezing over the past few days, dozens of students living at the Suikerlaan containers have reported having problems with their heating units.
People across the north have been breaking out their winter coats and gloves this week as temperatures have gotten down into the single digits, but residents of the Suikerlaan units report struggling to get their heating to work.
As of Wednesday morning, 22 students had posted in the Suikerlaan Facebook group sharing their concerns about the heating systems in their units over the weekend. Several posts recommended reseting the heating systems and making sure that ventilation in the room was shut, but many students said that such efforts had made little difference.
“Is your heating working or still freezing cold?” one resident posted on Tuesday, and other students replied posting the temperature in their rooms:
“When I woke up mine was f*cking 7 and took 2 hrs to get up to 10. Stuck around 14 now.”
Multiple posters stated they had contacted Rizoem staff about their issues. Robert Kuiper, a partner at Rizoem, confirms that the company has received a number of complaints from residents that their rooms were not warming up beyond 17 degrees. Kuiper says that even though the housing units themselves are second hand, the heating systems are actually brand new, so the technical issues are unexpected. “We sent maintenance workers there to check it out earlier this week to try and determine what was causing the problems”, Kuiper says.
A post on Wednesday morning from one student said that the temperature in their room was still 14 degrees. Kuiper says that representatives from Rizoem and the suppliers of the units would be meeting at 11 a.m. on Wednesday to address the issue. “We know that it’s unpleasant for the residents since it’s getting colder out, so this issue has our undivided attention.”
Gosé Posthumus, another Rizoem employee, explained via email that the heating systems rely on infrared technology, “but now it has become apparent that they are not working properly in some units.” “As soon as we know what is causing the problem and how to fix it, we will inform the residents,” Posthumus writes.
The Suikerlaan has 249 refurbished container units at the Suikerterrein altogether. The students pay 500 euros a month for the furnished units, which are classified as short stay accommodations. Short stay tenants have more limited rights than tenants in social or private market housing: they can only stay in the units for a maximum of 12 months and the price for the accommodations is all-inclusive. Residents of short stay housing are not eligible to have the rent or utility prices of their rooms re-evaluated and potentially lowered based on size and amenities.