The University as your landlord: friend or foe?

Image: University of York

Since the start of the academic year rent prices for on campus accommodation have risen again. What once was seemingly expensive rent prices has become even more expensive for students this year and for prospective students. It leaves the question of whether it is a good or bad thing to have the university as your landlord.

Last year, students paid between £135-£152 to live on Heslington East in Langwith College and Constantine College, only for students this year and perspective students to now pay between £146 -£162 a week for the academic year, as weekly rent has increased. Also, in all the other colleges prices have gone up by at least £5 a week, which adds up when paying it every week for a minimum 40 weeks contract.

It forces already struggling students into more debt and giving them greater financial worries as the majority of first year students live in on campus accommodation due to the location and to ease themselves into the university and college life. It saddles students with a stressful start as a lot of the student’s maintenance loans don’t if barely cover their rent, never mind other living costs.

When interviewing a first year student studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics, who currently lives in Derwent, they stated that “my maintence loan fails to cover anywhere near the accommodation rent charged, which also means I can’t cover food costs with it. I’m glad I’m living in halls for first year but I would definitely not live in halls for second or third year. I have been in my overdraft essentially since I started University and I don’t think I’m likely to be in my overdraft when I am living in a student house next year as it will put less stress on my finances.”

Rent prices not being the only issue with having the University as your landlord, a lot of students feel disgruntled about the Universities stance on the deposits we have to pay before we start living on campus. A second year student from Langwith College, studying law said “It’s an absolute joke that the university are further targeting already broke students by forcing them to pay three figures for a chair that can be bought online for less than £30”.

Students are being swindled out of their whole deposit over issues by the university, making the financial burden heavier and more frustrating for students. As students are losing their whole deposit over issues that do not require three figures to fix. The increase of rent and deposit scrutiny leaves many students pocket less.

The rent increase has also become a deterrent for some first and second year students thinking about living on campus for their second and third years. One student I interviewed I was talking to who lived on campus in first year, now is in second year, studing Psychology was considering applying for on campus accommodation for third year. They said that “the increased rent prices are ridiculous, it is cheaper to live in a student house close to campus than to live in any of the on campus accommodation with on campus accommodation starting at £106 in Halifax which is already far away from the nucleus of the University”.

Rent prices to live in a student house close to campus are considerably cheaper than living in halls. Rent per week with all bills included can cost as little as £100, making it seem the dream in comparison to the hefty financial price students pay for living in on campus accommodation. A second year student studying Crime, Criminology and Social Justice says “I lived in Langwith last year and I was constantly in my £1000 overdraft reaching the limit until student finance came in. I’d be in the same financial difficulties each term but now I pay about £95 a week bills included for a house near Campus West and it’s the first time in University I have been out of my overdraft.”

Overall, a lot of students feel the financial pressure of the increase is weekly rent and the issue over deposits is not worth the comfort of being located inside the University. Renting with a student housing company or private landlord seems to be the favourable choice for most second and third year students despite provisions for second and third years to live on campus. This leaves first year students saddled with unmagnagble rent and expenses as on campus accomodation is the desired choice for most freshers. This leaves most freshers in their overdraft by the end of their first year, leaving them bearing the weight of a significant financial strain.

2 comments

  1. Have you looked into the mass increases seen in off campus accommodation for next year? Prices going up £20/£25 a week per person for pretty much all houses on Adam Bennett with no real explanation why

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  2. I went to Durham in my first year and started again in year 2 at York. Rents are a lot cheaper in York uni and better standard. My sister is at Birmingham and rents are a lot more. We have a College system as well which costs a lot of money with all the tutors getting free rent. I’m proud to live in halls and my friends want to stay as well in their second and third years. This is an unbalanced article and I’m really worried that the students union are not reflecting most students who love their room. YUSU stop using us as a pawn for your own ego!

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