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2 in 5 students think off-campus housing is bad value for money

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In a recent survey by The Boar, two-fifths of students said they believed their accommodation was not good value for money, while 65% said they preferred living off-campus compared to halls. The survey compared the opinions and experiences of over 230 Warwick students, two-fifth of whom lived off-campus.

The majority of second and third-year Warwick students choose to live in Leamington Spa, with 72% responding they had rented homes in the area. The most popular locations were South Leamington, followed by Central Leamington and Earlsdon.

Interestingly very few respondents cited being too far from campus as their biggest complaint, despite daily grumblings on the U1. Kenilworth was the least popular area, with one student claiming the location was too expensive.

The most serious issue surrounding housing was damp or mould for nearly 23% of respondents, followed by the building being too cold and too dirty. However, less than a quarter of the respondents said they were dissatisfied with the overall condition of the building.

Meanwhile, 12% of students complained of an antisocial environment or bad relationship with flatmates, while living with friends was amongst many people’s biggest priorities. Those who did struggle with such issues tended to have a more positive response to the location and proximity to bus stops and town centre, as well as favouring “peace and quiet.”

Only one in ten students listed cheap rent as their biggest priority, compared to nearly half preferring to live with friends and 22% proximity to a bus stop or campus. A further 9% cited a location near the town centre. Overall, 84% were satisfied with their eventual location.

Only one in ten students listed cheap rent as their biggest priority, compared to nearly half preferring to live with friends and 22% proximity to a bus stop or campus.

Nearly everyone looking for specifically cheap accommodation had issues of damp or mould or found their house too cold or dirty. Even so, the majority of students were generally satisfied with the location of their accommodation.

36% of respondents opted to find their houses through Warwick Accommodation, while 32% went through Tara & Co. The remainder used other local estate agencies such as Dhesi Estates, Sandhu Estates, Central Housing and Belvoir.

While there were several complaints about the quality of accommodation services, in particular Warwick Accommodation and Tara & Co, there were few complaints about individual landlords. Concerns came up about the ability of the Warwick Accommodation website to deal with demand and the numbers of students needing to use it.

Students not renting through Warwick Accommodation in particular found getting their deposit returned at the end of the year to be an issue. 65% of respondents said had not been charged by the end of the tenancy although many remained unsure on how much of would be returned, even late in the summer.

Students were reportedly fined £200 for rubbish waste and up to £1000 in cleaning costs. One student said they were charged £86 after what they described as a “hellish dispute” with Castles estate agents, while another reported having to pay £110 for “an alleged mattress stain – a tiny grey patch which I have no idea how I could have made.”

One student commented: “We lived next to drug dealers and no one at Tara&Co warned us or did anything when we complained. Police showed up next door three times to arrest someone, once at six in the morning with three police cars.”

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