More than 150 students in two halls of residence at University College London are currently on a rent strike, demanding a 40% cut in their weekly accommodation fees.
The problem is places like Max Rayne House – a self-catered student house where a twin room costs £102.97 a week while a one-bed flat is £232.40 and bathrooms are shared between 10-13 people.
David Dahlborn, a third-year history student and one of the campaigners, reckons the rising rents “will lead to a growing student debt crisis” and says the blame for increasing costs lies at least partly with new specialist private providers of student accommodation, who are in the business for profit. He says: “The private sector is pushing rents up year after year, and universities like UCL are pushing their rent up as well.”
Building and providing student accommodation is a growing sector of the property market. Investors have been piling in, including private equity firms, to take advantage of the boom in purpose-built student housing. A record £6bn was invested in it last year – more than in north America, according to law firm Addleshaw Goddard…