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Surrey Students' Union Calls for Housing Intervention

Posted by Richard Ward in , , ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

The University of Surrey Students' Union has called for action to combat what it calls a student housing crisis.

According to student union president, Alex Mackenzie smith, the market system has failed and it's time for intervention, including more regulation.

The students' union has said students are being forced out of Guildford or into working longer hours, in order to pay for rent.

A housing manifesto created by the union said: "The housing market is increasingly occupied with those who are looking for an increasing return on their capital, and squeezing their tenants for everything they can, while doing the absolute minimum to be a legal landlord."

Miss Mackenzie added: "The market system has failed Guildford, and now it is time for intervention to bring fairness back to the system designed to provide the most basic human need. A roof over our head."

The manifesto called for more regulation to help protect students from exploitation, more purpose-built student accommodation, for students to be treated as residents of Guildford and for the introduction of rent controls to ensure prices are kept down.

The union is looking for Surrey residents to sign a petition to increase student loans with a London weighting, as students are being forced to pay rents similar to those in the capital.

The document also referenced the recently launched landlord accreditation scheme, suggesting its purpose was worthy but will fail to work when the market isn't functioning correctly. It suggested below par properties are still able to attract tenants, ensuring poor performing landlords aren't forced to raise their standards, leading to the exploitation of students.

Councillor Paul Spooner welcomed the manifesto but suggested a shortage of housing locally and regionally for all residents presented many challenges.