A GROUP of students say they have endured a catalogue of issues at a ‘luxury’ accommodation block in Chester including two floods and a fire.

Issa Dioume, Violaine Guibert, Christophe Journée and Diana Bonilla are forking out almost £8,000 for a 44-week stay in a studio apartment at the converted former newspaper offices, Chronicle House.

Opened on Commonhall Street by Fortis Student Living in 2015, it is presented as an up-market option for students in the city boasting its own gym, games area and laundry room.

But the four students told The Standard they had put up with everything from broken beds and no hot water to major water leaks and a fire since moving in last September.

They lodged numerous complaints but the company has passed them from pillar to post and offered no compensation, they say.

Issa, 22, who travelled from France to study literature and phonetics at the University of Chester, said: “I feel like I’ve been betrayed. This is contrary to what you see in the adverts for Chronicle House; it’s quite misleading.

“When we’ve tried to complain we’ve just been passed from person to person.”

Belgian national Christophe, 26, came to Chester with his girlfriend Diana who is doing a distance learning Masters degree and teaches Spanish.

“I think they are pushing their luck as far as they can,” he said.

Diana, 23, added: “Maybe they think they can do it because we are students and foreign.”

They produced photographs of the effects of two water leaks, on October 10 and November 17 last year, as well as pictures of the fire service attending a fire in the gym on January 26 this year.

Some students reportedly had mattresses soaked and belongings including books destroyed by water damage.

They also claim they had no hot water for up to 17 days in January at a time when outside temperatures plummeted below zero.

In correspondence seen by this newspaper, the estates manager blamed the gym fire on “students leaving the heater on 24 hours a day”. Repair work was said to be completed by February 19.

While sympathising with any inconvenience caused, she said the company had complied with its contractual obligations and therefore is not liable to offer compensation.

Neil Roberts, director with maintenance company Fortis Estate Management, said the main issue was the hot water system, which had been “unable to cope with peak demand at the coldest periods”.

However, he said it had been supplemented with additional heat sources.

“Another problem area has been with water leaks,” he said. “This is generally caused by what is known as 'push-fit upvc piping'. This is common in a lot of residential properties and is a common cause of leaks.

“We have been working to enhance the design and strength of this pipework to eliminate this problem area in Chronicle House.”

In a statement, a spokesman for Fortis Lettings and Management said the cost of staying in one of the 59 studio apartments included bills, internet and contents insurance.

She also stressed the company was compliant with the ANUK/UNIPOL Student Code.

“Unfortunately, Chronicle House has been subject to some maintenance issues during this academic year, some of which have affected students’ rooms within the property,” she said.

“Each case was reported to the block management company [Fortis Estate Management] which actively sought to find solutions for each issue. Fortis Lettings and Management have fulfilled our duties as a lettings agent and we are proactively working with the block management company to ensure no more incidents occur.

“It is regretful so many isolated incidents have occurred in Chronicle House during this academic term, on the scale of which we haven’t seen since the property open in 2015.”