Student rents in some parts of the country have risen by as much as 18 per cent in the past year thanks to landlords cashing in on the accommodation shortage, a letting agency chief claims.
Danielle Cullen, managing director of specialist online agency StudentTenant, says some students are spending as much as 65 per cent of their loans on accommodation.
How much a student receives from student finance depends on household income – the lower the household income, the more loan they are entitled to. Students from households in London with incomes below £25,000 are eligible to receive the maximum maintenance loan of £11,007 per year to live away from home.
"I’m consistently shocked when I see the rising student rental price figures each year. The student property market is starting to spiral out of control. It’s becoming apparent that higher education is becoming less and less affordable for students from lower-income households, who are unable to get additional help with their finances” claims Cullen.
“Who’s going to support students from low-income households? Sure they may be able to earn some money from a part time job, but that then starts to uncover ethical issues. Is it fair some students have less study time as they are unable to afford to live? Will their grades suffer because they have to work excessive hours to pay for their home whilst they are away at university?” she asks.
Cullen suggests the reason for a gradual hike in student accommodation has primarily been attributed to the demand of higher quality accommodation.
Whilst some landlords are investing in improvements to their rental properties, and are charging higher rental prices, other landlords are dropping out of the student rental market altogether to target mainstream renters instead.
“In the past, landlords could invest into an older property, fill it with some second-hand furniture, and bring in a regular income over the course of the university year. But, with the gradual rise in standards for student accommodation, we’re not only seeing landlords drop out of the student rental market but we’re also seeing a rise in prices” she continues.
“Given the choice, many students would prefer to live in high-quality accommodation, and landlords need to improve their properties to remain competitive. But this is driving rental prices up even more. Landlords should be sensible with their renovation spending as 5* luxury is great, but doesn’t hold up well with new tenants passing through every year.”