Accommodation price hikes raise concern for students

Students are paying 22% more for their accommodation this year than in 2006-2007, prompting the National Union of Students (NUS) to raise concerns that student support is not rising at the same time.


A rise by 22% in accommodation prices have raised concerns with student organisations. Photo: Samuel Cox

This rise in rent, which is according to a new survey of providers carried out by the NUS and Unipol Student Homes, is 13% over inflation rates. Yet at the same time the amount of student accommodation available for rent is decreasing.

The report released on March 24th calls for universities and private providers to ensure that affordability and choice are available for students.

Wes Streeting, NUS president, said: “Students are already graduating with tens of thousands of pounds of debt, and soaring accommodation costs will only make the situation worse. With graduate job prospects at an all time low, things are looking very bleak for many students.”

Martin Blakey, chief executive of Unipol who also helped compile this report, said: “Just as property prices could not go on rising forever, there is a point at which these kinds of kind of rent rises must slow and we are now seeing this in 2010. Whilst high quality student accommodation is to be welcomed, it is of concern that lower priced accommodation is no longer available.

“Educational institutions must make sure that they maintain a range of accommodation types at a price that all of their students can afford.”

The University of Lincoln responded to the fact that accommodation costs are rising by saying new off-campus buildings have been developed. Michael Ball, the university’s residential services manager, said: “There are a whole range of accommodation options for students in Lincoln, from large purpose-built halls of residence to small landlord-managed one or two-bed flats.”

The Students’ Union has raised many concerns about the standards of accommodation, with the most recent of these being Lord Young’s visit to the university.

Steven Greaves, the SU’s vice-president for welfare, said: “There is simply no justification for an increase in rent of 21.9% and the Union will, as always, be opposing any increases in the cost of accommodation for students.

“Landlords need to make a range of accommodation available and ensure the pricing is reflective of the facilities they provide. Students should have more choice and pricing should reflect the facilities on offer, so that students can access accommodation to suit their budget and their needs.”

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