'HOMES FIT FOR STUDY'
The National Union of Students has published the results of new nationally-based research which has looked at students' experiences of housing.
In his foreword to the report 'Homes Fit For Study', Colum McGuide, NUS Vice President Welfare, wrote that:
'... This research comes at a time of real change in the private rented sector, With recent figures showing rapid increases in the size of the sector, this is no longer just about students. It is time for decision-makers to stand up and take notice of the unacceptable practices that are making students and other tenants’ lives a misery; sky-high letting fees, spiralling rents and energy bills, health and safety hazards, and unresponsive landlords and letting agents. Too often students and others feel like there is nowhere to turn and nothing in place to protect them.
It is time for both government and universities to take a real look at the plight of student renters and others, and consider what they can do to support them and improve their experiences. We have cited numerous things that we think would make an immeasurable difference to students’ lives; an end to letting fees, more effective enforcement of standards and introducing rent guarantor schemes to name just a few. There is also much work to be done on the ground by universities and students’ unions to ensure that students are as well-equipped as possible to enter into rented housing and are able to avoid the worst of the sector.
I hope that this report will lead to some real nuanced discussion on student housing and lead to greater co-operation and collaboration between relevant stakeholders on both a national and local level.'
On the NUS website, Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter, is quoted as saying:'No one should be forced to live in a home that is a danger to their health and wellbeing - so these findings are shocking. We hear from young people every day living in unsafe rented homes, dealing with rogue landlords, struggling to pay sky-high rents, or paying out hundreds in unfair letting fees.