University of York student housing rent prices soar by a 27 percent average


Nouse covers the increase in rental prices across popular York student housing areas

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By Alanah Hammond

In a recent survey of 30 students, Nouse has found that the rent prices in York for student houses are increasing by an average of 27 percent for the 2023/24 academic year in com-parison to the 2022/23 academic year.

The data collected reflects student houses in York, which have their bills included, in popular student areas such as Badger Hill, Tang Hall and houses in the vicinity of Hull Road. The data also reflect rental prices for the same house in the next academic year.

The survey found that the highest rent increase was a 42 percent increase which was for a student property located off of Hull Road.

Nouse spoke to second year History student Ellie Cape who currently lives in this property where rent has increased exponentially. Ellie explained her thoughts on the current student housing crisis stating, “I think the prices are extortionate for what we’re paying for and when you compare it to other university houses in other cities you realise how overpriced they are. My friend in Newcastle, for example, is paying £100 a week for a house the same size as mine next year.”

More students shared similar experiences with Nouse. Olly Hilton, a third year Theatre student, described how the renting crisis is “impossible for students in a cost of living crisis”. Olly added, “I need to hold down two jobs to afford rent alongside my degree.”

Second year English and History student Ryan Whitely expressed his concerns over the housing crisis to Nouse. He explained, “It’s becoming almost impossible to find affordable housing. After paying rent, this term I was left with just £67 out of my student finance payment, which is the maximum entitlement, to pay for ten weeks of living costs.”

Ryan added, “Next year my rent will rise by £40 per week and will be a longer contract, not by our choice, making our annual rent cost jump from £6600 to £9500 – almost a 50 percent increase. “As a six bedroom shared house, the landlord will receive £18,000 more in rent costs out of myself and my flat-mates next year, on top of the £39,000 per year we currently pay, and this is not the landlord’s only student let” Ryan concluded, adding, “We all are struggling and rapidly running out of options.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by third year English Literature student Katy Leverett, who will graduate next year: “I just feel very bad for everyone who has to find private accommodation for next year. If I had to do another year [with these new rent prices], I would not be able to afford to live and likely would have to drop out of university.”

In particular, Kayla Vicente, a first year Theatre student, drew attention to the rent increase in popular student area Badger Hill. She explained, “The price increase on Badger Hill has made it almost impossible to live closer to the university in that area. “My rent would’ve gone up by £40 a week which is unsustainable for me despite also having two part-time jobs alongside my degree”.

Kayla told Nouse how she has had to move further away from campus in order to be able to actually afford the rent and bill prices and will live in York St John Accommodation next year. Kayla added, “It’s roughly £50 cheaper to be further away from the University than being closer. “Of course this means I have further to travel to campus which worries me about bus prices or waking up a lot earlier than I would need to”.

Current masters students are also facing the impact of the renting crisis but have the added pressure of a lack of maintenance loans from Student Finance England (SFE). Nouse spoke to Master’s student Ryan Winterbottom who explained, “Student finance hasn’t gone up with inflation which means that, though my rent isn’t ridiculously expensive, they are harder to pay. If rent is to stay the same, or increase, the student finance we receive likewise needs to go up.”

Ryan concluded by adding, “As a Master’s student there isn’t a maintenance loan, rather you get a flat fee. This means that to survive I have to work two night shifts per week to cover my expenses and complete my study.”

Indeed, the Government and SFE recently announced just a 2.8 percent increase in the level of student maintenance loans in the 2023/24 academic year. This uplift falls well short of the current rate of inflation, which stands at 10.7 percent. Added with rent increases averaging 27 percent, it is clear that students will suffer.

With so many student grievances, Nouse also wanted to hear the perspective of York’s renting crisis from a local landlord. They wished to remain anonymous, but they own several York student properties and have been a land-lord for over three decades.

Nouse asked the landlord’s thoughts on the increase in rent, up to 27 percent, on York student properties. They responded, “This will be the biggest increase there ever has been in rent. In previous years, there has been minimal changes from year to year, so this is a very big exception. I’ve not known anything like it in the time I’ve been a landlord”.

The landlord who spoke to Nouse has been in the business for over three decades and so these prices being the highest they have ever seen shows the severity of the renting situation that students now face. Indeed, data from Stripe Property Group shows the demand in York for student property. They found that “the University of York is the most in demand university within the UK when it comes to student rental accommodation.”

They added, “Currently across the YO10 postcode, no less than 75 percent of all Purpose Built Student Accommodation rental stock listed on the market has already been snapped up by students” as of 23 January. Nouse also asked what the landlord believed was the most influential reason for why the demand for accommodation in York is so very high. They explained, “one of the biggest reasons is because in 2012 York City Council introduced a regulation called ‘Article 4’ which restricts the permitted development rights of a normal dwelling house.”

This has the effect of capping the available supply of shared housing. The landlord listed the more obvious reasons for the rent increase including energy prices soaring, borrowing costs increasing and also the restricted supply and the increased demand situation with the amount of university students growing disproportionately to the amount of student properties that exist and are being built. For example, the landlord drew attention to how “in recent years when accommodation has been short, people have had to live in places like Hull and travel to York and University which has been ridiculous.”

Nouse also spoke to the University of York’s Student Housing Advisor, Stephen Cameron, about the renting crisis that students are now facing. Nouse asked Stephen whether he thought the University recognises the crisis that students are facing. Stephen replied, “I think my new role is testament to this acknowledgement as the University previously didn’t have any support for housing within the private sector, only for accommodation service”.

He continued, adding, “The student renting crisis is a national issue. A lot of people think that York is alone in this issue but it’s really not. Everyone is in the same boat with rent prices higher than we ever thought they would be.”

Nouse asked Stephen what his new role involves. He explained that he offers help and advice with “finding accommodation, dealing with disputes with housemates and landlords, contract checking, and just any housing-related advice.”

Stephen concluded, stating “I want to empower [all students] with knowledge and the knowledge of your rights, particularly with landlords and letting agents. It’s very easy for landlords and letting agents to take advantage of students, so I want to relieve any anxiety.”

In an email from the University of York’s Vice-Chancellor Charlie Jeffery on 16 January, he reassured students about the cost of living crisis which has impacted the student renting crisis. Jeffery said, “Looking ahead to the next academic year, we have agreed with our Students’ Unions to provide further cost of living support for those living off campus during 2023/24. We are working with the Students’ Unions to finalise what this support will look like and we will let you know more as soon as this has been agreed”.

Nouse also spoke to Pierrick Roger, YUSU President at the University of York about the University’s plans to support students, with the expected increase in rents for the academic year. Pierrick responded “In the short term, we will provide at least some rent relief through University finance. To do this, we’re working with the University to set up a Rent Support Fund for immediate distribution in the 2023/24 academic year.

“Additionally, we have successfully lobbied for the doubling of rooms available to returners’ on campus as these rooms are now cheaper than private rooms.

“We also want to ensure these rent pressures are meaningfully softened long term though. YUSU is working to bring partners together from the University, the Landlords’ Association and the York City Council to set up a UNIPOL housing charity to introduce regulation to the private rents market."