Home from home?

This year’s National Student Accommodation Survey from www.savethestudent.org received over 2,000 responses from students revealing plenty of interesting insights, some more worrying than others.

When it comes to student accommodation, most students tend to either rent from private landlords (half) or live in university accommodation (a third). 1 in 10 plump for private halls (which charge slightly more than the going rate) while just 8% take the cheapest route and opt to stay at home.

Wherever students choose to live, most get a reasonable deal on location: the average journey to campus takes just 20 minutes. Unsurprisingly, those in London travel almost 10 minutes more than the average UK student.

More than a third of students reckon they’re not getting value for money. Here are just a few of the comments from the survey on the realities of student accommodation:

  • The place looks like a prison

  • Good value for money, but still expensive even with a job and a student loan

  • Compared to many houses it's not bad but difficult living almost an hour away

  • Can't afford to take public transport so I walk, not that safe at night but living in town is too expensive

  • Lack of independence due to living with parents, but I can't afford rent in Brighton

  • My flatmates treat the house poorly which makes living difficult. This is made worse by the location which is far away from both university and the majority of students

  • Boiler broke at the peak of winter so no heating, couldn't get hold of anyone because it was before New Year, took 5 days to get it fixed and they didn't provide alternative heating

  • Super friendly and respectful roommates, excellent accommodation all round.

Shockingly, 44% of students struggle to keep up with the rent. Most worryingly, 45% say the cost of accommodation impacts mental health, while 31% find their studies are affected too. Many students struggle to make ends meet. The UK national average for student rent swings in at a hefty £130.59 per week – that’s around £566 per month. The really bad news? The average Maintenance Loan payment comes in at just £138.85 per week, leaving next to nothing for all your other costs (like eating!). So it's perhaps no surprise that 83% of students would like to see rents capped according to what’s on offer in student funding.

The cost of rent varies massively depending on where you study. London remains the priciest place to find student digs, with average rents reaching £222 per week – that’s more than 1.5 times the national average. Cheapest by a country mile is Northern Ireland, with an average rent of just £71 per week.

If there’s a ray of sunshine in this year’s stats, it’s that student rents often come bundled with bills – 68% of have bagged inclusive deals (including water rates, electricity, broadband, cleaning, laundry and gym). Worth bearing in mind next time when rents are negotiated.

Interestingly, broadband is increasingly a standard in student homes, with 52% of students saying it’s included in the rent. If there’s a warning, though, it’s that inclusive rents may not always save money cheaper bills could be grabbed on the side.

The majority of students have letting or agency fees to pay on top of rent, coming in at an average of £208. These aren’t always transparent, however – 16% of you say fees weren’t clear when you signed your contract.

To read the whole survey, check out:


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