Every September, students from all over the world pour into the capital city of London. Not only are they here for an education and the experience of their lives, but the opportunities to network and socialise are unmatched anywhere else in England. London can be described as the UK’s answer to the ‘city that never sleeps.’
Unsuspecting students are tempted into what are known as student halls and shared housing in London for what can only be described as truly extortionate rent prices. And with recent events such as the student rent strike at the end of 2015, the lack of affordable housing for students is showing the not so pretty side of being a student in London.
The London student boom has seen a rise in luxury student accommodation that other cities can’t compete with, and with London citizens and locals struggling to afford housing it’s no wonder landlords and developers have turned to exploiting students to make profit.
With two very different extremes, students in London can expect to either live in cheap grotty rooms, and pay an average of £500 a month to share a 4 or 5 bedroom house. Or if they are fortunate enough, pay rent of over £1000 per calendar month for studio apartments and one bedroom houses.
The overcrowding and overpricing of student housing in London is a clear example of the dangers of privatising the student housing sector. And many argue that it’s time for the government to intervene and cap student rent prices in London to ensure landlords and private companies aren’t simply taking advantage of young people, to make profit from them.
Housing is the main issue facing Londoners, with the average tenant in the capital paying out 72% of their total earnings on rent alone, so it is clear that rent is becoming everyone’s problem. At University College London, accommodation costs now fully resemble the private sector. Since 2009, rents have been dramatically increasing. The cheapest single room stands as £542.36 per month, almost £5,500 for a single academic year while, at the other end of the spectrum, many students are assigned rooms at more than £800 every month.
Shelly Asquith, NUS Welfare Officer, says: “It’s absolutely appalling that students are being exploited by landlords and letting agents who are willing to charge above and beyond for properties.”
“Students should be able to focus on studying and enjoying their educational experience. This prioritising of profit is just another example of how students across the country are being taken for a ride by greedy housing providers.”
It is clear that student housing in London is spiralling out of control with no end in sight. And unless caps on rent prices and penalties on landlords are introduced, it is predicted by a lot of students currently living in London that the housing crisis will get worse, before it gets better.