Students! Get outta town

A report says students taking up nearly 70,000 properties should be kicked out to make way for affordable homes

How do you solve the shortage of affordable housing in the UK? Simple! Make students move out.

Moving students out of town houses and into purpose-built accommodation blocks would leave 66,000 affordable homes for families and young professionals, a report has claimed.

Freeing up these homes would also generate demand for 260,000 student beds in new purpose-built accommodation.

The housing shortage means up to 3.7million young people could be living with their parents by 2020.

Moving out would be bitter-sweet for students, with most likely to be reluctant to leave student areas.

Yet the promise of purpose-built accommodation would come with better regulation and a higher quality of living, the report by Savills suggests.

A typical student road, if you needed reminding

A typical student road, if you needed reminding

Neal Hudson, a research analyst for Savills, said a hefty amount of council tax could be reclaimed by each council.

Hudson said: “Local council coffers would also gain. We calculate that reinstating these student HMOs to homes for non student resident would boost council tax returns by around £1.5 million per town or city, since student only houses are council tax exempt.”

Choosing a university town pretty much at random, The Tab spoke to Nottingham City Council.

A spokesman there said that central government does indirectly reimburse councils for the tax that students do not pay.

He said: “We’re actually helping students out.

“Having more student houses gives us a lower tax base and so we qualify for more types of government funding. Although it is impossible to say whether this would reach the £1.5 million we would receive in council tax.”

The process of buying up all the houses in student areas would be awkward, and it remains to be seen whether the homes will be affordable for families.

Most houses in student areas contain five to seven bedrooms.

Cllr Dave Liversidge of Nottingham City Council, said: “There are a variety of types of housing used by students. Many of these would be suitable for families, but we recognise not all would be, and there may be other potential uses such as shared housing for working professionals.

“We feel everyone benefits from students being in purpose built accommodation.”

Would you be happy about living in a purpose built tower block or would you rather live in a student house?