A recent 84-page report compiled by the NUS titled 'Homes Fit for Study', has identified that only 8% of students found their property using a University provided housing list and 2% through a letting agent run by their students' union. Under one third of respondents to the survey reported that they had used the institution or student union's housing services. The housing list was the most popular University-led initiative with 21% reporting to have used this although a low proportion of these respondents actually secured their house through this method. The most popular method, according to the report's findings, is to use an online property search platform (such as StuRents.com) that provides the convenience of an integrated search, shortlist and enquiry process.
Alarmingly, 69% of respondents indicated that they are not aware whether a formal accreditation scheme existed in the local area despite 75% of respondents indicating they would prefer to rent an accredited property. Since the increase in regulation from HMO compliance many optional University-led schemes have come under pressure from landlords.
The report further indicates that 14% of respondents committed to signing their tenancy agreement without viewing the property, while 5% only view pictures and 2% did not see the property at all. The majority of students viewed between 2-5 properties, with 15% viewing more and 17% viewing just one property.
When ranking house hunting priorities, 52% of students identified cost as the most important factor with 83% placing rent in their top three priorities. The condition and location were also considered highly important factors.
Overall, only 42% of respondents felt they had adequate choice to make an informed decision when house hunting, citing the pressure and fear of missing out as a key catalyst to activity.
It is clear that whilst the increase in popularity of web-based solutions has improved transparency in the student property market, there is still much more that can be done. StuRents.com is dedicated to improving the house hunting experience for students, and will support any initiative that continues to increase information flow, transparency and efficiency in the marketplace, to ensure that students are making informed decisions when house hunting and parting with considerable money in doing so.
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