Council plans restriction on private housing for students after hundreds of complaints from residents

‘Many people I speak to would not want to live in what they perceive as a student ghetto’


Turns out locals don’t really like having students living on their street.

Complaints describing student-populated areas as “slums” have motivated Exeter City Council to impose restrictions on HMOs (housing of multiple occupation, of which 70% are student occupied) in densely student-populated areas, such as Pennsylvania and Newtown.

The grievances voiced by local residents ranged from concerns about the “general untidy appearance…HMOs bring to this and neighbouring area” to claims that “‘multiple tenancy properties…at times of the year relegate parts of the community either to slums or ghost towns”.

Student housing on roads like Vic street is set to be limited.

Others focused specifically on problems caused by students.

One Pensylvania resident said: “Fewer local families are now able to live in the area and many people I speak to would not want to live in what they perceive as a student ghetto.”

Another Pensylvania resident also raised anxieties: “I am concerned at the ‘ghettoisation’ which results in areas with a preponderance of student houses with problems arising of noise, litter, refuse bins and unkempt appearance.”

When asked about the issues restricting student housing could cause, Caroline Massey, Senior Housing Development Officer, said: “Instead of HMOs, we would like to use purpose built student accommodation.

“Basically we aim to put people in halls, some on campus, some privately funded such as UNITE.”

Restrictions on HMOs mean many students will live in blocks of flats, like UNITE.

While restrictions on HMOs in densely populated student areas may help to keep a balance in areas, one resident also raised concerns about students spreading out in the area, stating ‘Unless this proposal is passed, the student take-over will creep northwards.’