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New research: a third of students struggle to keep their homes warm

Thursday 01-02-2018 - 16:57

Today I’m really pleased to be launching the second Homes Fit for Study research report, which looks at students' living conditions in the private rented sector. 

This report follows the first Homes Fit for Study, which NUS conducted in 2014. As a result of that report, for the first time, we were able to definitively show that students were living in poor quality, overpriced, and insecure housing across the UK. Importantly, we were able to dispel the myth that poor quality housing was some kind of ‘right of passage’ for students, and that students ‘didn’t really care’ about where they lived.  

Homes Fit for Study 2014 found that half of students were living in properties that were damp, and a quarter in homes that were infested with mice, rats, slugs or other pests.  

The 2014 report also found that a third of students struggled to afford to keep their homes warm.  

I wanted Homes Fit for Study 2018 to build on the theme of fuel poverty which was highlighted in the first report and again, found some truly shocking results: 

  • 49% of students reported feeling uncomfortably cold in their rented home  
  • 42% of students struggled to pay their energy bills 
  • 38% had damp or mould in their property  

Alarmingly, students reported that they weren’t sure how to switch their energy supplier, or thought that they weren’t allowed to as part of their tenancy agreement. Consistently, students were not receiving the Energy Performance Certificates for their properties, even though they are now a legal requirement when renting.  

I’ve put together a range of resources, as part of the Ready to Rent programme, to help students with their energy bills; from saving energy, to switching supplier, its all included in helpful guides on the Ready to Rent website.  

You can also find loads of helpful information on the Student Switch Off site, including:  

Check out the briefing that covers the main findings from the research, and has links to a really important consultation which is happening now, on mandating landlords to make energy efficiency improvements to their rental properties.  

All the details, plus a template response for your union to use to respond the consultation are in the briefing.  

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