Reports of Durham University students camping outside rental agents overnight in order to secure accommodation have prompted action from the city’s deputy.
Reportedly, a large number of students have been desperately trying to secure housing for the next academic year by outside rental agents camping all night in the cold. Students in the city were expected to demonstrate on Friday about the quality, availability and affordability of housing in the city.
and now Durham City MP Mary Kelly Foy has written to major rental agents in Durham as the city’s student housing crisis continues.
The letter, co-written by the president and elected officials of the Durham Students’ Union, calls on permitting agents to urgently “make changes to the student hiring process” to ensure students do not suffer “undue pressure”.
In the letter, Ms Foy said that “the current issuance of rents so early in the year is creating panic among students, requiring undergraduates, many of whom have had no time to settle in life in a new city, to sign legally binding contracts with A little time to make a thoughtful and informed decision.”
Additionally, rents are reported to be surging in the city, with properties now costing students between £170 to £200 per person per week. In the letter, Ms. Foy requested that the agents be allowed to give their account of the causes of the ongoing crisis and to answer the following questions:
- Why are student homes released so early and in large quantities, especially given the previous proposal under the owner-accreditation scheme that homes be kept until later in the school year?
- Why are housing costs so high?
- How are students bidding on properties they thought they secured, and what measures can be put in place to provide some guarantees for students looking for housing?
- What processes are in place to monitor the quality and condition of student property?
Speaking about the city’s housing crisis, Ms. Foy said: “What we are seeing in the Durham rental market is funny. I have been contacted by large numbers of students and their parents who have been utterly upset by the escalating rent chaos and limited availability of housing.
In addition to writing to letting agents, Ms. Foy will meet with the Vice Chancellor today to raise the concerns of students and residents directly. She added that the current situation is not sustainable, and they urgently need to work together to solve this problem.
Spokesman Durham University He said, “We have assured all of our students that we will support them in finding suitable accommodation whether at the college or elsewhere.
“We cannot exercise control over the private rental market. We have seen some unfortunate behavior by letting agents and landlords in Durham, raise prices above inflation and release properties much earlier than usual.
“We have put in place a package of financial support to help students through the cost of living crisis. Like many other UK universities, we have had to change lately our A-level class limits to accommodate a larger-than-usual student body in 2021. We have reduced our intake this academic year.
“We also join UK universities in calling for increased funds and hardship grants for UK students nationally.”
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