0:01 AM, 10th February 2023, About A year ago 1
Nearly two in three student tenants in the UK are struggling to pay rent and two in five say that they have considered dropping out of university due to high rents, a survey reveals.
According to the research from the money advice site Save the Student, the proportion of students struggling to keep up with rent payments has increased since last year’s survey to 63% from 53%.
The National Student Accommodation survey shows that students are also struggling with energy bills during the cost-of-living crisis – with 47% of students with a private landlord have not received the £400 government energy bills discount.
For those in university halls, the figure rises to 82%.
Save the Student’s money expert, Tom Allingham, said: “Factor in the wider cost of living crisis, plus the fact that nearly half of students in privately rented homes also missed out on the energy grant, and it’s sadly no surprise that 63% now say they’re struggling with rent.
“We’re calling on the government to stop overlooking students, and instead ensure that they can benefit from all energy bill support – both now and in the future.”
One student living in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) said: “My student loan doesn’t cover the cost of my accommodation let alone money to live off therefore I am constantly working to try to get enough money to pay my rent and to buy food, etc.
“This then leaves me exhausted and makes focusing on my degree difficult as my main concern is surviving.”
High energy bills are also causing students to stress as some have seen their bills rise by £276 per year.
Also, more students are choosing to rent cheaper homes from private landlords due to the financial challenges, the survey says.
It found that the proportion in private accommodation has increased to 46% this year, up from 40% last year and the average monthly rent for a private landlord is £523, compared to university accommodation which costs £592.
London has the most expensive student rent in the UK, costing an average of £663 per month. This is more than £100 a month higher than the next most expensive region, which is Yorkshire at £550 per month.
Kellie McAlonan of the National Association of Student Money Advisers, said: “With housing costs making up the biggest expenses for students across the country, it is vitally important, particularly during this cost-of-living crisis, that we fully understand the challenges being faced by our students.”
She added: “What we are seeing in the survey results should not be surprising. It’s been evident for some time that students can often get the short end of the stick when it comes to having safe and affordable housing and many have lost out on some of the interventions the government has introduced to support consumers with record breaking energy bills.
“The government needs to consider that struggling to pay rent is a reality for many students, and it isn’t good enough.”