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Student anger grows over cost of “basic” accommodation


By Charlotte Lascelles

STUDENTS SAY they are increasingly angry at rising rent prices for inadequate university accommodation.

The problem has been reported nationwide as students around the UK have criticised the high rents they are charged, which do not match up with the “basic” accommodation that they are given.

Sophie Wolstenholme, 18, a fresher at Birmingham City University said: “I’m paying about £120 a week for a standard room and it has a very basic single bed with an even more basic en-suite.

“My shower had no hot water for about three days and it overflowed. The communal area was also basic and one fridge was broken.”

In some places students have gone on strike and are refusing to pay their rent.

At University College London there has been a dramatic increase in prices, with rent ranging from £542 to £800 a week on accommodation.

As a result Cut The Cost was formed, a campaign group where students from UCL are protesting about the poor conditions that they are charged “astronomically” for.

A spokesperson from the group said: “Our aims are quite multi-dimensional. Firstly, we attempt to combat the ‘pricing out’ of lower income students from London institutions which charge astronomically high rents for quite often sub-par facilities in halls.

“Our aim is to make sure that London institutions are universally accessible to those who have worked hard for the chance to go to university, rather than just being a privilege for the wealthy.

“However, we also recognise that rent is increasingly a problem across the board regardless of your parents’ income, since rents are getting higher and higher.”

Last week it was revealed that 10 student judges from various universities refused to announce a winner for the Student Experience category at the Student Accommodation Awards – claiming that each of the nominated accommodation providers cared more about profit than the students they housed.

A spokesperson for the Student Accommodation Awards told the Property Eye website: “We completely respect the decision of the judging panel not to make an award in this category.

“Developers and operators of student accommodation strive to produce the very best environment for students, but our student judges have sent a clear message that the industry needs to do better.”

In July, Cut The Cost came out victorious after a five month strike where UCL promised to give £350,000 in bursaries and to freeze rent for 2016-17.

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