Student housing is a rip-off

Landlords make our lives a living hell.

One of the main things students look forward to about Uni is having our own abode, and a nice big loan that tempts many into spending way too much money. 

For most, the anticipation in the days leading up to the loan is almost unbearable, thinking about all the smart and invaluable things you’re going to buy the second it hits.

The harsh reality is…it’s probably going on rent.

The average state of a student house

The average state of a student house

Using statistics over the last four years, there are roughly 2.7 million households in the UK are privately rented. In addition to those figures, the average rent in 2010 for a private sector renter was £109 per person per week. That has almost certainly risen in that time.

In my experience of student buying, this per week figure is about right, although it varies from city to city. Yet for the condition of the houses, this is a massive exaggeration of cost. Over the last few years of house searching myself, I have been absolutely shocked at the state of some of the flats they are allowed to market.

From kitchens that were black with grime, to bedrooms that had metal grates in the walls to ease the damp, the awful sights just didn’t end. However these houses were the same price as some that were in outstanding condition. There must be a government legislation that cracks down on this.

Landlords’ lack of responsiveness to students essential problems such as fixing the boiler or oven further extends the high-driven prices ridiculousness.

Housing is an essential commodity. To function as part of this society properly you must have a place of residence. Banks, phone contracts, finance contracts and even usually having a job, all require you to have a fixed place of abode and often proof that you have been living there for more than a few months.

Students that must find accommodation relatively close to their place of study can often find themselves with little or no choice in where they live, and with no protection we are currently living in a system that allows this unregulated multi-billion pound market to continue, shamelessly extorting the poorer and least protected members of the country yet again.

We are looking here at a hundreds-of-millions-of-pounds-a-year industry that is completely unregulated with no etiquette whatsoever. It is a vicious circle of profit and a circle that is completely dependable as the flow of new students each year is certain, and growing. This affects hundreds of thousands of students a year that must find rented accommodation and that fund this search via their loan. The government and landlords are earning a fortune from us, and yet give us nothing or very little in return.

Guidelines or rules that prevent this callous handling of housing are essential and must be implemented and enforced. We can no longer have landlords marketing houses with no restrictions on the quality of accommodation they provide. This is an issue that is not going away and needs to be looked at now, in 2010, 68% of all new households in the country were under the renting sector. This will be great news for our Governments and landlords who can expect a huge increase in the profits they will make from this terribly run industry and who do not want change.

That is why WE must push the change. We are a large proportion of society and we can make a difference.