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Students struggle with soaring rents

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The National Union of Students has warned of increasing pressure on student pockets as the gap between undergraduate incomes and their rents gets smaller and smaller.

Some are concerned that rent rises, in combination with the government’s change in legislation that will see maintenance grants changed to loans, might see people put off attending university in the future.

Rents have risen by a quarter between 2010 and 2013 (Unipol) in comparison to the wider rental market, which rose by 13 percent over the same period (Homelet).

NUS believes that this rise is a result of private sector housing developments, as well as universities selling off their own accommodation.

The lack of a cap on the number of undergraduates that can be accepted by universities has also increased demand and put prices under pressure.

Kam Sandhu, of Sandhu Estates, believes that a higher number of students are a factor. He said: “There is a very high demand from students and young professionals to live in Leamington Spa.

“With large local employers such as Jaguar Land Rover and National Grid taking on increasing numbers of apprentices and graduates, this will inevitably result in an upward pressure on rental prices.”

Yet some suspect that the noticeable difference in rent prices between students and other private renters is simply a case of landlords taking advantage of student naivety.

Eloise Millard, an English Literature student, said: “I have a friend who is a mature student at Warwick who lives in Canley with her three children.

“She told me that she is paying nowhere near as much in rent as students who are renting on the same street as her

Basically they’re being targeted because they are students”
Eloise Millard

However David French, of Tara and Co., believes that there are more complex factors, including a change in local legislation.

He said: “Locally I think one thing has had an obvious impact, which is the local council imposing an article four direction on the town. This has meant that new properties are much more difficult to change from residential to HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupation).

“The existing student properties have therefore been easier to let than in previous years, where new landlords bringing in higher quality, newly purchased or converted HMOs, were letting over some of the older properties.”

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