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Categories: government and politics | prs

Students due to start their studies at Glasgow University are being told to secure accommodation before completing their registration, due to a major shortage of accommodation.

The shortage of privately rented properties and the rental freeze proposed by Nicola Surgeon is causing ‘chaos’ in the Scottish private rental sector. Glasgow University is also reportedly suggesting students ditch their studies if they’re not able to find somewhere to live.

A spokesperson from the Student Tenants’ Union at the University says of the situation:

“These issues have not just ­started recently and if the ­university ­recognised this they would be ­making more effort to expand their halls.

“This is something that has been left to grow for years and is now even worse because of the cost-of-living crisis.

“Some people are ending up near homeless. We helped people last year that were living on couches.

“Other students are paying thousands of pounds but living in buildings not fit for purpose. Some cases are genuinely shocking because of the negligence letting agents have shown regarding repairs.”

This issue has caused such an impact that students and their representatives are staging protests.

The Campaign for Affordable Student Housing (CASH), which has organised this protest, claims that over 400 students have been affected by this shortage. Some are forced to travel up to 80 miles from accommodation in Dundee and Fife, or else drop out of university altogether.

CASH spokesperson Barry Will says:

“It is a pretty desperate situation, the rents are phenomenal and there has been a real crisis. One student camped outside an estate agent for three days in an attempt to get somewhere and there are bedrooms being rented out for £1000 a month.”

CASH is also suggesting that the universities are contributing to this issue, by offering more places to students than can be accommodated, as well as charging such a high rate on student accommodation, that it inflates the rental cost of other properties in the surrounding area.

NUS Scotland has also noted that is getting more difficult for students in other parts of the country, such as Edinburgh and St Andrews, which backs up what private landlords have been warning about for months.

Impact on landlords

Student accommodation often comes in the form of house shares described as “Houses of Multiple Occupation” within the mortgage market. This type of property is financed with an HMO mortgage.

It is common knowledge that the Fair Rents (Scotland) Bill has already caused many landlords to sell their properties and pull out of the rental market, and the proposed rental freeze in Scotland will only cause further issues.

The Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) are considering taking legal action against the Government, as they fear it will make the shortage of accommodation drastically worse.

Chief Executive of SAL, John Blackwood, says of the situation:

“We plan to seek a legal opinion once the legislation is published – in the meantime, landlords are selling up and letting agents are being inundated with calls.

“Politicians need to act quickly to support landlords by encouraging them to continue to invest in providing much-needed rented accommodation.”