Malia Bouattia offers ‘full support’ to rent strike and will not tolerate ‘bullying’ UCL management
Only 0.8 per cent of UCL accommodation was considered ‘affordable’
NUS has officially backed the UCL rent strike as a matter of serious concern over the ‘extortionate rents’ charged on London properties, offering “full support…with students on rent strike”.
In an open letter published yesterday on the NUS website, NUS President Malia Bouattia has voiced her concern that the “non-acceptable” low-level of affordable accommodation available to students living in London has reached a point of unsustainability.
Bouattia has written to UCL management to “re-affirm the NUS’ support for students taking actions” and calls on them to “resolve [the rent strike] as soon as possible by engaging with the demands.”
Bouattia has also encouraged more students to join the strike and “will not tolerate any attempts by UCL management to bully students into leaving the strike.”
This is in light of recent findings by NUS into the lack of affordable student accommodation offered by UCL. NUS guidelines stipulates that affordable rent counts for 25 per cent of all bed-spaces at a University should be offered at 50 per cent of the maximum amount of student finance.
According to the NUS-conducted Accommodation Cost Survey, only 0.8 per cent of UCL accommodation fulfilled the criteria.
According to Cut the Rent, rent charged at UCL Halls of Residence increased by 56 per cent between 2010 – 2015.
2016 saw one of the largest rent strikes at UCL, with over 1,000 students withholding their rent as part of the strike. It brought about substantial change, forcing UCL management to give students circa £1 million in rent subsidies.
UCL External Accommodation Officer, David Dahlborn told The Tab: “Bloody good to see NUS back up our strike and call bullshit on management’s claims that they comply with their policy on affordable rooms, when in fact less than one percent meets the target.
“People are angry at management across the board; we’re taking strong action, with the rent strike and the NSS boycott to prove that lower rent and lower tuitions fees are not only possible, but necessary.”
This year the members of UCL’s Cut the Rent campaign demand “an immediate announcement of 10 per cent rent cut for the upcoming academic year.” Additionally, they demand the publication of documentation from UCL Estates regarding the rent-setting process.