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A third of students go without water or heating

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

One in three UK students have gone without heating or running water in their rental property, a survey has found.

While noisy housemates are the top cause of complaints among tenants, the vast majority of gripes relate to maintenance issues, according to research by Save the Student.

Some 90% of the 2,100 students polled reported a problem with their accommodation including damp, rodents and bed bugs.

The study also found that the cost of accommodation leaves half of students struggling to pay rent.

Young tenants pay an average of £970 in upfront housing costs including deposit, admin fees and one month’s rent in advance – far higher than the average Maintenance Loan of £541 a month.

As a result, two thirds of students are forced to borrow money from family, banks and other lenders to cope with housing costs.

Jake Butler, student money expert from Save the Student, said: “Too many people – including students – seem to believe that poor living conditions are just a part of student life.

“Our investigation confirms how students are being unfairly treated as if second-class citizens, expected to put up with dire conditions throughout their studies.

“It’s even more outrageous considering the sums of money being handed over to landlords. Rent swallows up the entire Maintenance Loan for many students, piling on added stress of having to make ends meet while living in squalor.

“Whilst the laws around renting are constantly improving there needs to be a much easier way for students to report and resolve problems with their accommodation.”

The 10 biggest issues for student renters

  1. Noisy housemates (45%)
  2. Damp (35%)
  3. Housemates stealing food (33%)
  4. Lack of water/heating (32%)
  5. Disruptive building work (20%)
  6. Inappropriate landlord visits (16%)
  7. Rodents & pests (16%)
  8. Dangerous conditions (5%)
  9. Burglary (5%)
  10. Bed bugs (3%)