The SSHell: lack of notifications

Filed under: Stories — Beneluxland @ 17 November 2010 11:39

The SSHell column handles issues we (tenants of the Beneluxlaan complex) have with the SSH (SSHU or SSHxl or Short Stay). I want to personally note that every story has two sides and these columns handle my(our) side of the story.

Last couple of years we got frustrated by the poor notifications of the SSH / Short Stay, so it is time to add a couple of those problem up in a nice list. By creating this column I hope that the SSH / Short Stay sees the problems that arrive on our side by their decision to not inform us properly about most e.g. changes / incidents.

Lack of notifications:
1. Complaints
2. Change of housing officer
3. In-house ‘snitch’
4. Inspection of the fire department
5. Update, end of December 2010
6. Update, begin of February 2011
7. Update, begin of January 2012


Of course things sometimes break down, or due to vandalism something is missing/broken in your floor/room. To make sure that notifications of this will not be send more than one time to the SSH / Short Stay, we decided to create a page on the Beneluxlaan website to file and view complaints.

So after this was tested we put it online and started to fill out complaints. We kept detailed information about the status and actions that where taken by SSH / Short Stay or the Dutch residents of the Beneluxlaan, who as always, are more than willing to break a sweat to make the Beneluxlaan better.
Not long after that I received an e-mail (link to original mail) on my private e-mail address with an invitation to discuss this new page on the Beneluxlaan website.

Key to the meeting that followed was that:
1. The SSH / Short Stay has already its own system for this, but since it is only for the international guest students, there was no better idea than just keep filling out our complaints through this form
2. The SSH / Short Stay knows that information on the internet is widely spread and would rather see that this page is only available for internal usage only

In response we agreed to the following:
1. We will keep using this system and report what ever we find necessary to report
2. We will add functionality to the complaints form that only complaints that are open or closed/resolved less than 2 week can be viewed

SSH / Short Stay would than try to keep us informed through mail regarding all the communication that will take place between SSH / Short Stay that considers all the tenants of the Beneluxlaan.

Well guess why I’m writing a story about this?! And don’t even let me get started on the feedback we get on complaints that are filled. Even though that some of them are !fucking! seriously.

Change of housing officer

Well, for over the past two and a half year, we had a really nice housing officer. Due to his choice to leave the SSH / Short Stay for a new career, the Beneluxlaan now has no official housing officer since the beginning of November 2010.
I personally think that this change is something you, as a company (SSH / Short Stay), should inform you tenants about. Well, there is a reason why I’m writing this story in this part of the website.
We’ll see what this change do for good or bad to the daily business in and around the Beneluxlaan.
I would like to thank our former housing officer for his two and a half year work around here, and I know that trying to do the best for the Beneluxlaan building and tenants is a fucking hard job if the SSH / Short Stay blocks most of your ideas due to management and budgetary bullshit.

A nice touch to this is that when I called the SSH / Short Stay this week to see if they could transfer me to the former housing officer, the receptionist told me that his replacement will start on the 1st of December, so no mails about cleaning the kitchen blah blah blah this month? Audio recording of this conversation (in Dutch) available on demand.
Last week a housemate told me he met the new housing officer. I personally didn’t have the chance to meet him so this will be continued.

In-house ‘snitch’

Around the 3th of November 2010 we received an e-mail from the SSH / Short Stay with the following message:

Dear guest,

Because of safety reasons and nuisance problems, SSH has decided to house a supervisor in the Beneluxlaan. The supervisor will be a resident of the Beneluxlaan and will notify SSH or the police when incidents occur. The supervisor cannot help you with housing issues or technical issues. He is merely there to signal any odd behavior from the house rules.

You can find the house rules and information of the police to prevent burglaries attached to this e-mail.

If you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact SSH Short Stay.

Link to the original e-mail

Bravo SSH / Short Stay on this communication, where must be noted that the person who send it (blacked out in the image) is not the same as who signed it (also blacked out for privacy reasons), why is this???
First questions from people in and around the Beneluxlaan where:
1. Where is this person going to live?
2. What will he do? Walk round every night? Check out all of our parties?
3. Why is this person being placed here so late? We have a Dutch saying “Mosterd na de maaltijd” what practically means that this action is way to late!

Because of the lack of notifications from the SSH / Short Stay, we didn’t even bother to reply on their e-mail to ask for more information. In and around the Beneluxlaan this person has got the name ‘Snitch’, since he/she cannot help us with things that matter (e.g. broken light, administrative questions, complains or tips).

What I really don’t understand regarding this decision is that the SSH / Short Stay will now (pay?) somebody to do something that we, the Dutch anchored tenant can also do. Damn and I mean, we are also already doing this, non payed. E.g.:
– Painting our elevator
– Help the new people that come to live in the Beneluxlaan how stuff works around here
– Get our post back at the reception of the Albert van Koningsbruggen
– Hang information about machines on the correct spots
– Open and close the windows in the staircases during the Summer and Winter days
– And it continues…

Well we hope that our ‘Snitch’ will do some good around here, and of course “Welcome to Beneluxland”.

Inspection of the fire department

Last September (2010) we received a letter from the fire department with the results of the inspection they performed. In this 7 pages big document it concluded (see 1st page 2nd alinea) that the state of this complex is considered “very unsafe”.

After receiving this notification we started wondering how (and when) the SSH / Short Stay would notice us about this issue. We found this letter in our mail the last week of September. Until today we have not heard anything of the SSH / Short Stay, although I told our housing officer that we received a copy of the letter of the fire department, an official mail or notification from the SSH / Short Stay regarding this issue is still not send.

Update, end of December 2010

After this story was published on the interwebs, I met the new ‘temporal’ housing officer. We had a nice conversation about some things in and around Beneluxlaan, but the focus of the chat was getting more intense when we discussed the complaints that I have had made (through the beneluxlaan website). Long story short, he didn’t know that it was ‘okay’ to file complaints this way.

A couple of days later (24 Nov 2010) I received an e-mail that the new housing officer had some ‘issues’ with this particular story (The SSHell). Some information in the story about the change of housing officer was not correct. Well he also noticed that this incorrectness was the cause of the bad information given by SSH / Short Stay about the change of housing officers.
Again 2 weeks (2nd week of December) later we found a nice notification.

Good part of the story is:

I will be the housing officer of Beneluxlaan up to the moment the new housing officer is completely prepared for her new job.

So we will have a (hopefully) lovely lady walking by with a big chain of keys over here.

Not long after this it remained quite at the SSH / Short Stay side. But on the 22nd of November 2010, I already asked the SSH what the whole deal is with this fire department report that we have found the other day.

So finally on the 29th of November 2010, I received an answer to to my question (Remember that the report of the fire department was send to the SSH / Short Stay on the 21st of September 2010). Why didn’t the SSH / Short Stay inform us about this, did this story trigger the them to finally inform the tenants of Beneluxland???
And on the 6th of December 2010 the SSH / Short Stay informed all the tenants about this report.

And then about the ‘Snitch’, we got the chance to have seen him for precisely 2 (two as in one less than three) times now. We hope everything is fine, at least he posted something on my website (see comments below this article). ┬íNEXT!

Did it have results??
I hope to think so, we got reply’s to some of our requests but the question remains if this story had to do anything with it, but we will just have to wait and see what will happen the next couple of semesters.

Update, begin of February 2011

The new housing officer started, guess what also

Update, begin of January 2012

So we are a year further today, guess what we get a new housing officer yet again. Last year we also got the announcement by mail, but I guess due to savings world wide, the mails are to expensive to use as an information media.

  1. Hey people,

    This is “snitch”. I’ll be walking the hallways frome time to time yes. Mostly I’m here for all the students who want
    to sleep at night, like a clean kitchen/ bathroom and don’t like living in a house wich is used as a garbagecan or get’s demolished by other tenants.
    So to be short; don’t wreck the place and keep your neighboors in mind, shouldn’t be too hard.

    Snitch out,

    Comment by Jeroen — 1 December 2010 @ 12:19