A number of recent surveys have illuminated students’ experiences of the private rented sector.
The National Student Accommodation Survey 2023 showed an increase in the proportion of students renting from private landlords. As those in private rented accommodation pay less each month on average compared with private or university-run halls, this increase reflects the financial challenges that students are facing in the cost-of-living crisis.
However, the TDS Charitable Foundation’s most recent Voice of the Tenant survey found that students are more likely to encounter difficulties when searching for a new property in the private rented sector, with 84% facing challenges compared to 70% of all tenants.
Indeed, the Homes Fit for Study survey from 2023 revealed that only 25% of students found it easy to find good quality accommodation, and just 27% agreed that it was easy to do so within their budget. The survey also showed that student housing conditions in the private rented sector appear to be worsening, with an increase in the numbers of students reporting damp, mould and drafty windows and doors. One problem alluded to by the survey was the ‘widespread cultural expectation that it is acceptable’ for students to live in low quality housing.’
One positive finding from the Voice of the Tenant survey, however, was that students feel
more secure in their properties, with 26% worrying about being asked to leave at any time compared to 40% of all tenants.