Trinity international students suffer health problems from mouldy apartment in Kavanagh Court

The €1000 a month accommodation is advertised on Trinity’s website as “top of the range”

Two international students living in Kavanagh Court have suffered health problems due to mould growing in their apartment according to the Irish Independent. The claims emerged this morning when the Irish Independent published images showing the extent of the mould.

Ehsan Ghaffari, a fourth year medicine student at Trinity, was the first to discover the mould when he noticed a strange smell while he moved into his apartment. He later discovered mould growing under his bed and on his mattress.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Ghaffari said: “When I saw the black mould it chilled me. I was like shit this was the smell, the whole time I’ve been suffocating from this. I’d been getting light-headed while studying in that room, the smell was absolutely horrifying.”

The accommodation staff later changed the mattress and began cleaning the room of the mould. This would later cause greater health difficulties for returning Art History student Jacqueline Christensen.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Jacqueline Christensen, described the effect the mould had on her health: “My whole body was pulsating, my head chest, stomach legs were throbbing.”

Last year, Christensen took a year off books on medical leave. Following her move into the accommodation, she started “to develop peripheral neuropathy, which is a condition [she] had years ago due to lyme disease and mould exposure.” While she previously suffered from this condition, it had been “completely gone for months.”

Both students were critical of the remediation methods used by the accommodation staff to clean the apartment and claimed no warning was given to residents before the cleaning began. The lack of safety equipment used by the accommodation staff also caused concern as well as the decision to leave the mould ridden mattress in the common room area during the process.

Attempts to meet the Kavanagh Court residence manager after the discovery of the mould also proved difficult, with the resident manager failing twice to meet the affected students,  according to claims made by Ehsan to the Irish Independent.

Eventually, the assistant manager of the luxury student complex assisted the two students. It was agreed that the two students would move to another room while the mould problem was being treated.

In a further statement to the Irish Independent, Christensen said: “It was bad enough that I was moved in to this building, even worse that I was moved into the flat that had the worse mould issue in the entire building, and they told me straight up that Ehsan’s room was the worst in the entire building.”

Speaking to Trinity News, Ehsan said: “All my items are covered in stinky toxic mold and its by products that is hard to get rid of, I haven’t been feeling well for one week, it’s affected my studies, I feel absolutely terrible and so do the other two girls, the management here are so rude.”

Uninest, a  joint venture between Harrison Street Real Estate Capital and the property management wing of Dubai based company GSA (Global Student accommodation), operates Kavanagh Court. The luxury student accommodation also operates four other luxury student complexes in north Dublin including The Tannery, New Mill, Broadstone Hall and Ardcairn House.

Speaking on behalf of Uninest, PR firm Lucre Group, said to the Irish Independent: “We immediately offered alternative accommodation to allow for remedial works to take place. We have since met again with our residents and discussed the matter in detail, and have agreed a solution to ensure that the standards that are expected are restored as a matter of urgency.”

Lucre Group claimed the mould problems emerged when the accomodation complex offered an early-move in date to the residents of the apartment.

In response to the situation, Trinity released a statement to the Irish Independent:   “Kavanagh Court is purpose built student accommodation that has been developed to a very high standard. As part of our relationship with Kavanagh Court it has an agreed service level for maintenance response.”

Trinity holds a partnership with the luxury accommodation complex which began its operation during the 2017/2018 academic year. Housing 491 students and advertised on Trinity’s website as “top of the range,” standard rooms at Kavanagh Court begin at €249 per week for a 38 week occupancy.

Additional reporting by Micheal Gilna and Caroline Boyle 

Ciaran Sunderland

Ciaran Sunderland is the current Deputy Editor of Trinity News. He is a Senior Sophister History student, and former Investigations Editor.