Welcome to the university housing crisis: There are now apparently over three students for every bed

We are truly living in hell

In today’s episode of the university housing crisis, there are now reportedly over three students for every student bed available.

New research by property developer Stripe Property Group claims there are apparently 3.1 students for every available bed, with an overwhelmed rental market and a lack of purpose-built uni accommodation.

The group says there are now 2,180,419 full-time university students across the UK – eight per cent more than there were prior to the pandemic (2019/20) – with what they say is an estimated just 697,734 student beds available to them, which has grown by only six per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels. The claimed 3.1 figure is a slight increase from three students for every bed in 2019/20, based on the same stats.

However, this doesn’t necessarily account for the many students who live at home or with partners. But no matter exactly how many students there are for every bed, one thing is clear – students’ experiences so far this university year speak for themselves and show we are well and truly in the midst of a housing crisis.

We’re not even two months into term, but there have already been huge issues with student housing up and down the country. At UWE in Bristol, 127 freshers have been sent to live across the Welsh border in Newport.

Manchester University offered £2,500 to freshers within commuting distance who were able to switch from living at uni to living at home, in an attempt to increase the number of places in halls. Its neighbouring Manchester Metropolitan also had halls shortages – offering freshers halls in Liverpool and Huddersfield, along with £100 a week to cover additional living and travel expenses for the 30-mile journey to Manchester.

Up in Scotland, 140 St Andrews students were offered housing in halls in Dundee – 14 miles away. And Glasgow University emailed students advising them to “suspend” their studies or even “withdraw” from the university if they hadn’t yet found a place yet to live, with the uni saying there is “increasingly limited accommodation” in the city “due to a significant contraction in the private rental market”.

One of Glasgow Uni’s responses to the student housing crisis raging through the city is to temporarily house students in a four-star hotel, as well as free breakfast and a £100 meal voucher for food on campus. University of Exeter freshers had to be offered temporary accommodation in a Holiday Inn Express (as well as £200 per week of the delay and vouchers for meals), because their private halls they were due to move into hasn’t finished being built yet. And in Lincoln, 500 students have had to move out of their halls after multiple fire safety issues were highlighted during an assessment of the building.

And even though we’re nowhere near the next academic year, there’s already huge demand for rented homes from students looking for next next year. In Durham, students have been sleeping on the streets overnight in queues outside estate agents, waiting to sign houses for next year. One has claimed that next year, their rent will be increasing by over £1,000 a year.

Have you had a uni accommodation crisis this year? Whether it’s in halls or with a private landlord – if you have a story you think we should know about, get in touch at [email protected]

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Every single term one student housing disaster that proves we’re well and truly in a crisis

• Why the hell are UK unis so incapable of providing their students with somewhere to live?

• Freshers living in hotels after burst pipe ‘floods’ Unite Students accommodation