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New Co-operative Model Looks to Cut the Cost of Student Living

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

In a model based on those already established in the US and Canada, where hundreds of thousands of students live in co-operatives, students in Nottingham are setting up their own scheme to help provide affordable student accommodation.

A study by the National Union of Students found that 62% of students use loans to help pay rent and only half think their accommodation is good value for money.

This prompted Scott Jennings, a medical student in Nottingham, to set up his own co-operative that will lease homes from a new national body. Student Co-op Homes has been set up with £2.5m of funding from Co-operatives UK, which includes building societies, John Lewis and some farming groups.

The goal is for Student Co-op Homes to have 15,000 beds within five years, which will be leased to student groups and allow them to either handle maintenance themselves or opt into a national scheme.

The co-operative promises that rents will be 10% below the market rate, thereby providing students with more affordable accommodation.

A similar scheme already exists in Edinburgh after a housing association leased some student flats with 106 beds in 2014. The Edinburgh Student Housing Co-operative was founded by Mike Shaw, who said the properties are democratically run by its members and are priced 30% cheaper than the city average.