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£1bn wasted on unusable accommodation by students in the UK

Study shows lack of support given to student renters

By: Elena-Sofia Cesario

Image courtesy of pexels-ivan-samkov-4458554

Almost £1bn in rent has been spent by students on accommodation that has been sitting empty this academic year, a study by Save the Student indicates.

Over 1,300 students from across the UK took part in the National Student Accommodation Survey which looked at the impact COVID-19 has had on accommodation choice.

The results suggest that at the beginning of the 2020/201 academic year, 39% of students rented private accommodation, while 34% of students were in university halls, 15% in private halls, and another 10% with parents.

According to Save the Student, across the UK student population, £930,270,890 of rent was paid for accommodation that students were not able to use due to the pandemic.

Image courtesy of NSAS 2021.

“We calculated this figure using student rent (after any discounts/refunds) and the number of months unable to access the property. Averages are then calculated for each accommodation type and combined with HESA student accommodation data to give an overall figure”, says Save the Student’s website.

After the Christmas holidays, the situation in the UK drastically changed for the worst, with a peak in people who contracted COVID-19. Consequently, the governments were forced to impose stricter rules to avoid any further spread.

This led to a Nationwide lockdown, while many students were still at their family home when this happened. Therefore, they were unable to return to their accommodation, and almost all teaching moved online. After the new measures, a third of the students interviewed in the survey moved back in with their parents.

When it came to approaching the respective landlords about the situation, just 32% of the interviewed students were offered a discount on their rent, and the average discount per-week was £75.

Jake Butler, Save the Student’s money expert said: “£1 billion is a huge price for students to pay and the total will keep going up, making it clear once again that students are among the worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“You can see from our stats that students feel let down and helpless when it comes to looking for support with their accommodation costs.”