Oxford students forced to sleep in queues for over 24 hours to sign uni accommodation
‘It was absolutely freezing, I’m wearing three jumpers right now’
Students at The University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University have been forced to sleep in queues outside in order to get uni accommodation.
Last night, as many as 18 students from Oxford camped out outside Finders’ Keepers estate agents to sign housing contracts amid the uni housing shortage.
One student said: “It’s so ridiculous that we have to be out here for so long – it’s just a scam to drive up demand beyond belief.”
With temperatures in Oxford reaching -1°, some students queued for nearly 24 hours with blankets, hot water bottles and camping chairs to make sure they got the accommodation they wanted.
One student Will, who studies property development said: “Loads of people want to get the house we are going for – we’ve met 10 people today who are trying to get it. It’s probably the best four-bed property, and in a good place too, so we’ve just sat on these chairs all night.
“It was absolutely freezing, I’m wearing three jumpers right now. It’s so ridiculous that we have to be out here for so long – it’s just a scam to drive up demand beyond belief.
“The guys at the back, they always end up with the worst houses ever because they have to – they can’t get anything. Last week, we came at around 5am, and the queue was so large already that by the time we got in all the places we had wanted were already gone.
“They told us that we could view one place, so we walked up to the house for a quick look around. By the time we had got there, before we even got upstairs they called us to say that the flat had already been let.”
He added that the estate agents at Finders; Keepers actually “love” the queues and find the whole situation funny. He said: “They love it. They literally left from work last and came out laughing at us, and one of them said ‘have a nice cold night guys, we’ll see you in the morning.’
“I don’t think they have much sympathy, I think they just find it all a bit funny – to be fair I would.”
Another student Milly, who studies business at Oxford Brookes, said: “We tried to queue last week from 4:30am and there were already people camping out from 11 the previous night. So, we decided to beat them this time around and go even earlier.
“We got Domino’s, had a good chat. It’s been okay really. But I can’t feel my feet at all, and I’m wearing four jumpers, leggings, joggers and a coat.”
One Brookes student Molly made a TikTok outside the estate agents and running about Oxford with the caption: “POV: You stay up all night at the estate agent so you make sure you’re not homeless for second year.”
Tom and Jared from The University of Oxford joined the queue much later than 24 hours before but said they didn’t mind queuing as they were doing it voluntarily.
Tom, who studies planetary science said: ‘We weren’t quite so bad – but we heard yesterday at tea time that the queue was already growing so we dropped what we were doing and set ourselves up. We’ve not been here all night – I’ve been here for about six hours, we’ve been rotating on two and a half hour shifts. I had to get up very early to get back here but I had a night’s sleep so it’s been okay.
“My feet are pretty cold, but we’re choosing to do it. It is freezing, but we can leave whenever we want – if we weren’t waiting we would still get a place, it’d just not be as nice. It’s quite a stupid system, you think they would have a digital queue or something, but I don’t know if this is just an artefact of the old way people used to get student accommodation or something.
“Ultimately if we waited here or had a fixed queue, the outcome will be they’ll always sell the houses they own anyway – so it’s a bit unnecessary to make us queue.”
Jared, who studies modern middle eastern studies at St Cross College, added: “This is essentially just us deciding that, yes, it’s a bit grim, but we would rather wait here for a night and get a nice place locked in.
“We could leave it for ages, there are still usually houses available as late as May. I only got into a house in June last year, so this year we decided to just get it done early. If you sort it in November it removes that stress, it’s nice to know that it’s all sorted and done – so you don’t have to think about it for the rest of the year.”
Other students who turned up this morning to a queue of over 100 people said they were “surprised” to see such a big queue when they arrived. Emma, a student paramedic said: “We weren’t really willing to queue from four or five in the morning – there are some nice houses here but I think it’s a bit much.
“Hopefully we’ll get somewhere, it’s a bit ridiculous you have to queue for so long, especially as Oxford is such a student city.” She added that they may have to try queuing overnight if they can’t find a house.
Featured image via SWNS.