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Student accommodation concerns often ignored, finds new survey

A quarter of complaints to landlords about poor housing conditions are never dealt with, a student survey has found

  • Student life
Seeta Bhardwa's avatar

Seeta Bhardwa

Editor, THE Student
April 6 2017
student accommodation


One in four complaints to landlords from students about poor housing conditions are ignored, according to a student accommodation survey.

In a survey of just over 2,000 students, financial website Save the Student found that a quarter said concerns raised around their housing conditions were not dealt with by landlords. 

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The National Student Accommodation Survey 2017 questioned students between 13 and 26 March 2017 about the type of accommodation they live in, the maintenance conditions they face and their housing costs.

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The UK survey found that just 21 per cent of issues were resolved within 24 hours and nearly half took more than a week to be seen to. The most common issue students face is damp, with 46 per cent stating they had experienced this. If left untreated, damp can cause long-term health problems. The second most common issue was a lack of water/heating, with 42 per cent of students naming this as a problem. 

A third year student in the North West – renting from a private landlord – said: “The boiler is very old and has broken four times and the landlord refuses to replace it. In November it broke and wasn’t fixed for four days. The landlord didn’t provide us with any heaters and the house was so cold that we could see our breath. And he just told us he’d get it repaired ‘as soon as he could’.”

Another third year student from the East Midlands who rents from a private landlord said that after struggling to lock the front door “someone didn’t come until two days later. Our house was not secure and they just kept saying they would send someone out but they never turned up”.

Respondents were made up of students who rent from a private landlord (47 per cent), university accommodation (34 per cent), private halls (9 per cent), live with parents (8 per cent) or own their property (1 per cent). One per cent of students belonged to the category “other”. 

The survey also found that the average student rent is around £125 per week, but this varies depending on where in the UK the student is based.

Rents are the highest for students in London, where they pay on average £182 a week. In Northern Ireland, students pay an average weekly rate of £91. 

Students living in private halls pay even more, shelling out up to £146 a week. However, this is only around £10 more than average university rents.


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