Following warnings of a critical shortage for student housing, student rents in some areas have risen by as much as 18% in the last year, as landlords look to cash in on the excess of demand.
As student room prices spiral out of control in key university cities in the UK - leaving students up to £600 poorer each year – some students are spending as much as 65% of their loans on accommodation.
How much a student receives from student finance depends on household income – the lower the household income, the more loan they are entitled to. Students from households in London with incomes below £25,000, are eligible to receive the maximum maintenance loan of £11,007 per year to live away from home.
Comment from Danielle Cullen, Managing Director at StudentTenant.com, “I’m consistently shocked when I see the rising student rental price figures each year. Students are spending 65% of their loans on somewhere to live - It’s ludicrous and a real eye opener. Essentially the student property market is starting to spiral out of control. It’s becoming apparent that higher education is becoming less and less affordable for students from lower-income households, who are unable to get additional help with their finances.
“So, who’s going to support students from low-income households? Sure they may be able to earn some money from a part time job, but that then starts to uncover ethical issues. Is it fair some students have less study time as they are unable to afford to live? Will their grades suffer because they have to work excessive hours to pay for their home whilst they are away at university? Does it limit others opportunities as they are forced to study at a university closer to their family home?
“Students are concerned with the marketisation of universities, rising rents and student debt. Students are leaving university with upwards of £40,000 worth of debt.”
The reason for a gradual hike in student accommodation has primarily been attributed to the demand of higher quality accommodation. Whilst some landlords are investing in improvements to their rental properties, and are charging higher rental prices, other landlords are dropping out of the student rental market altogether to target mainstream renters instead.
Danielle continues, “In the past, landlords could invest into an older property, fill it with some second-hand furniture, and bring in a regular income over the course of the university year. But, with the gradual rise in standards for student accommodation, we’re not only seeing landlords drop out of the student rental market, we’re also seeing a rise in prices.
“Given the choice, many students would prefer to live in high-quality accommodation, and landlords need to improve their properties to remain competitive. But, this is driving rental prices up even more. Landlords should be sensible with their renovation spending as 5* luxury is great, but doesn’t hold up well with new tenants passing through every year. Small things make a big difference. Cleaning the property thoroughly, supplying better furniture, and the option of an additional bills packages could attract more renters to view the property.”