No Borders to Student Housing: Guarantors, Right to Rent and more

Wednesday 06-04-2016 - 09:39

This year, we have ensured NUS’s housing resources responded to fast-paced change, from rising rents to new Government policy. In particular, international students have been the target of major reforms impacting their ability to access housing, as well as facing on-going hurdles enforced by the Home Office.

Evidence from the Join Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) has suggested that the introduction of ‘Right to Rent’ will lead to  a number of landlords and letting agents discriminating against migrants due to the added burden of now having to verify visa papers. We know this has been a particular concern to Students’ Unions who represent a large proportion of international students, as it risks putting them in the hands of rogue landlords, or increasingly expensive purpose-built accommodation.

I teamed up with Mostafa, our International Students’ Officer, to publish a new Housing How-To on Right to Rent. This document summarises the policy, explains how it affects students, and offers advice on how to campaign locally on its implementation.

As if enforcing landlords carry out the border agency’s job isn’t bad enough, there are other significant barriers facing international students in the housing market. One which Students’ Unions have raised consistently is guarantor schemes, and the lack of affordable alternatives to students without an individual able to guarantee their tenancy.

We have responded by publishing another Housing How-To on Guarantor Schemes, too. It is designed to explain the nature of guarantor schemes, the issues with private providers, and tips for influencing your college or university to step in and provide support. The document also references institutions that are already providing guarantor schemes thanks to SUs lobbying.

We hope these new resources can support work to make accommodation a basic right, available to all regardless of immigration status. If you would like any more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Previously in Housing How-To: Disabled Students and Accessible Housing

Coming soon in Housing How-To: Article 4 Directives, Rent Strikes and Private Halls Providers

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