As the new university term comes closer, many students are currently looking for accommodation for the next year. However, many unscrupulous landlords are taking advantage of rising rents and charging astronomical figures for properties well below par. And it is not always just private landlords making the most of desperate students, many universities let out very basic and spartan rooms, expecting the student to move all their belongings out each holiday so the university is able to let out the rooms for additional income. |
But it is the private rental sector that dominates the student housing market. There are now specialised firms that build and run apartment blocks specifically for students. They offer their 'clients' welcome packs to include plates, bowls and cutlery, yet then charge weekly rents of £200 or more for little more than a square box.
Companies such as 'Unite' that build student accommodation have seen their share prices go up dramatically and seen no slow down in the market as many foreign students opt to study in the UK, unaffected by rising tuition fees. Their first half yearly profits for 2012 showed a two third's increase to a whopping £7.2 million.
Developers and such companies are finding these student type accommodation blocks are far more lucrative than building normal residential accommodation as you can cram more students into the same area, and make the rooms even smaller and more basic.
In London in particular there is a vast shortage of student beds. There are over quarter of a million students and universities have only around 20,000 available beds in halls. The private housing rental sector offers around another 25,000 beds. There are close to 3 students for every available bed. Across the rest of the country there is 1.5 students to every bed.
But students have little choice. They must either rent a room in student accommodation where they are forced out each holiday and have to share facilities with hundreds of others, or they opt for privately rented accommodation and fall victim to landlords who ignore the basic rights of a student as a tenant and deduct large sums of money from their deposits for tiny issues. Most landlords get away with this type of behaviour as the student cannot afford or take the time to find somewhere else to live and is very unlikely to sue the landlord for any disrepair or breach of contract.
Most students are living away from home for the first time and are easy prey for landlords looking to take advantage of the naivety of these youngsters.
Right across the country student rents are increasing drastically, yet the standard of accommodation, flats for rent and facilities provided is not improving inline with this.
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