Unite student accommodation has reported some strange things left behind in student properties. Aside from rubbish and unwanted items, it has also found guinea pigs and other rodents and even a live hamster in a microwave.
As a rule, students aren’t allowed to keep pets at university in the UK. However, it doesn’t stop people trying.
Two students living in Bristol had a pair of rats as pets, which they had to hide in a wardrobe whenever their landlord came to visit. Another at Bournemouth University would move her kitten into the car or garden, every time the landlord paid a call. Another played music to hide the noise made when her pet hamster used its wheel and others would hide behind the sofa with their hamster and its cage whenever their landlord knocked on the door.
For reasons unknown to the author, The Coventry Telegraph has previously exercised its powers under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, to request information relating to accommodation at Warwick University. The information led to a report that the accommodation team at Warwick University had discovered a number of students hiding animals in their rooms, in a direct violation of its accommodation policy.
The policy states that Guide Dogs are the only permitted exemption to the university’s rule that animals may not be kept in university accommodation nor permitted in the student union building. Students of the animals discovered, which included a kitten and a snake, were forced to find alternative homes for their pets.
The universities that practice this ban on pets on their premises (pretty much every university in the UK) may promote they’ve good reason. It protects students suffering from allergies, and has hygiene implications. There’s also animal welfare to consider, and some may quote that it minimises the likelihood of accidents or injuries.
If you have your heart set on a pet, don’t despair. The ban does not necessarily apply to private accommodation – that’s a decision for your private landlord, but you can’t opt for halls, unless your university permits working animals. Our pocket guide to Easy Care Pets for Students gives some practical advice on how to choose the right pet – if you are thinking of keeping a pet at your university digs, it pays to be aware of its needs.
But always, always check your accommodation contract.