UK Student Housing Reaches New Crisis Levels
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UK Student Housing Reaches New Crisis Levels

Jasmyne Jeffery December 29, 2022

UK student housing has reached new crisis levels as more and more students are facing hidden homelessness. Others are moving back in with their parents and facing big commutes to attend lectures. The crisis comes from the increasing demand for student accommodation around the country.

Since the pandemic, students have faced difficulties securing accommodation with many being left without proper accommodation. Unfortunately, the crisis has reached new levels with most universities unable to offer an adequate amount of student housing. The Guardian are reporting there is a shortage of 207,000 beds for students.

The UK Student Housing Crisis

Experts say that “purpose-built student accommodation has stopped expanding to the extent it was,” meaning widespread shortages across the country. Another worry is that it doesn’t look as if things will be changing any time soon. Landlords are also moving away from renting to students, favouring professionals instead.

“At the same time we think there’s a significant decrease in shared houses – [landlords] are moving back to renting to professionals or leaving the market.”

Planning regulations have made it more difficult for shared housing to be divided and universities are turning to partnerships instead of offering their own accommodation.

Demand has increased in the latest academic year due to an influx of international students post-pandemic and expanding universities.

The National Union for Students said that this shortage was “unprecedented”, yet the chief executive at Unipol predicted the deteriorating situation back in January. Chloe Field for NUS spoke of the alarming consequences of the situation.

Depressed girl sitting on ground. Courtesy of getty

“Without urgent action to increase the amount of affordable housing, it is inevitable that both dropouts and student homelessness will increase.”

Earlier in the year, students in Glasgow were told to postpone their courses due to the lack of available accommodation. Across the rest of the country, students have been placed in accommodations miles away from their campus, something that isn’t feasible for the future.

Cost of Living Crisis Adds To Homelessness Amongst Students

It was predicted earlier this year that student homelessness would increase, yet that doesn’t make the situation any better.

Strong competition means that lenders can charge more for accommodation, something that maintenance loans already cannot keep up with.

In a survey by Student Beans, 30 per cent of students were facing housing insecurity. 11 per cent said they had faced homelessness during their studies, with a fifth of students coming close to having nowhere to live. For those who were made homeless, over 4 out of 5 believed that their university had not done enough to support them.

Almost half of the students said that there was no accommodation available to them within their budget. With an increased amount of students having to sleep on friends’ sofas, 42 per cent don’t consider sofa-surfing as homelessness. This is even if they have no other means of accommodation.

Students are now demanding that the government must do more to support them and keep them off the streets.

Institutions are now being urged to open more of their own universities instead of working with partners. Universities UK admitted that there have been problems this year with accommodation.

“universities worked closely with students and the housing sector to ensure students find appropriate accommodation” this year but that it was aware of problems, for which it was exploring possible solutions.

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Jasmyne Jeffery is a full-time Entertainment and News Writer on university-themed website Freshered and HITC, and joined the company having previously worked in a freelance role. She attended the University of South Wales where she was also a student blogger and graduated in 2022 with a first-class honours degree in English and Creative Writing. Now, she puts her creativity to use reviewing university bars, Love Island episodes and the latest apps any 18-25-year-old is using.