Student blames "squalid" university accommodation for severe skin rash

  • Report by Education Correspondent, Peter Bearne

A student at the University of Leicester says she's disgusted that she's not received compensation after developing a severe skin rash she thinks was caused by the poor state of her accommodation.

Louise Leslie, a first year History student, was eventually moved out of her Halls of Residence after complaining about mould and damp. 

Louise began developing painful, itchy red blotches all over her skin which she believes were cause by mould spore poisoning. Credit: Louise Leslie

"I was taking 8 anti-histamines per day at one point," Louise says. "It took a massive toll on my work, it took a massive toll on my mental health. Sometimes it was oozing a bit, I barely slept for about three months from the itchiness."

She says the blotches appeared living at Southmeade Court, a Leicester University hall of residence. The pictures she took of her flat, which was costing her £131 a week, appear to show serious issues with mould and damp.

Louise says these pictures she showed to her doctors were what caused them to recommend to leave the flat. Credit: Louise Leslie

She had three trips to hospital but the doctors couldn't provide a diagnosis. However, Louise showed her the pictures and they advised her to move out.

The University of Leicester says it acted as soon as it became aware of the problem, saying "student welfare is a priority and they maintain the highest standards at their accommodation."

They think the problem was caused by poor ventilation and they "make students aware they are responsible for cleaning their own accommodation."

Louise and her eight flatmates have now been found alternative accommodation. She says that since she's left, the outbreaks have not returned - meaning it has to be from the halls she lived in.

She is now fighting for compensation. All she's received so far is a £65 rent rebate covering a period during lockdown. Louise says she's "disgusted" at that amount so far as "it doesn't even cover the amount of prescriptions" she got.