Stop surveilling us and do something about trespassers, Upsilon tenants ask SSH (UPDATE)


Tenants of student housing complex Upsilon have been complaining to landlord SSH about trespassers and vandalism for months. But the building’s security guards only monitor the residents, they say.

Marie likes to keep fit. She used to take the stairs every day, even though she lives on the fourteenth floor. Until she encountered a stranger sleeping in the stairwell one Sunday morning in December. 

At first, she thought it was another tenant of the Upsilon building, but it turned out to be a homeless man. ‘He gestured towards me as if to tell me that he did not mean any harm, picked up his stuff and started leaving.’ 

Although nothing happened, it made her feel vulnerable. ‘For a while, I was actually quite scared.’ She reported the security breach to student housing corporation SSH, but they said they were ‘not a hotel’, according to Marie, and could therefore ‘not provide 24/7 security’. 

Patrolling the hallways

It’s not that there isn’t any security in the building at all. But the students feel that the guards are mainly around to spy on them, patrolling the hallways daily for unannounced parties or any other unacceptable behaviour, they say.

Meanwhile, issues with a neighbour who is dumping trash in front of the building go unaddressed. Tenant Felix Nickel caught him in the act while out for a smoke in October. ‘He was carrying a trash bag and he just went straight for the entrance and threw it there.’

That wasn’t the first time, either. ‘I heard about it from a former tenant’, says Elisabeth Aylwin. ‘He apparently doesn’t like it that there is international student housing here.’ 

Torn-up packages

For a while, the tenants shrugged it off. ‘Personally, I think it’s more funny than anything else’, says Felix. ‘This guy is having an all-out war with four hundred new international students every year. And in the end, it’s some poor Dutch person who has to take care of it.’

The situation only escalated when students’ packages were found torn apart in front of the building. They figured it must have been the hostile neighbour who had entered the building and removed them from the shelf in the hall where the postman would leave them. 

When they notified SSH of their suspicion, the corporation acted swiftly: the drop-off shelf was replaced with a piece of paper proclaiming: ‘No pick-up point! Packages are your own responsibility.’


Sure, says Elisabeth, SSH can’t be monitoring for vandalism at all times. But its reaction made her doubt ‘whether they actually cared’. 

Marie agrees. ‘I can understand that it’s not directly their responsibility. But it also can’t be anyone else’s responsibility.’ 

One female student expressed her disappointment with SSH in the building’s group chat earlier this year, after she came across a drunk male stranger in the stairwell. She called the corporation’s emergency number, ‘and they said they didn’t know what to do, and that if we feel unsafe, to call the police’, she texted the other tenants. ‘I guess security is only for parties.’ 

Update April 11: SSH states it reported the incidents with the torn-up trash bags and packages to the neighbourhood police officer, who talked to the neighbour. Since then, SSH hasn’t received any more complaints from tenants about these issues. According to the tenants UKrant spoke to, the problem is ongoing and torn-up trash bags were left at the entrance again last week.

SSH further notes that access to the building is only possible with a key, but that it does happen that a person walks in with a student. ‘Like the residents, we find this very unfortunate. We are in contact with the police. Our security guards also send the homeless people away when they see them.‘ There are employees present at SSH’s properties every day, the spokesperson says. ‘We do our best to solve nuisances as quickly as possible and students can always come to us if they have questions or if they feel uncomfortable.’


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