Nearly one in four students currently live in vermin-infested housing, a new NUS survey has revealed. Findings show that 24% of students have reported finding slugs, mice or another infestation in their home.
The survey was part of new research published by the National Union of Students (NUS), which looked into the current state of student housing in the UK. The report also contained recommendations from the NUS to regulate letting agents, as well as proposing an end to letting fees.
Added to these health and safety concerns, more than three-quarters (76 per cent) of students experienced at least one problem with their rented homes. The issues most often reported included condensation (52 per cent), mould (47 per cent) and damp (41 per cent).
NUS Vice President Welfare, Colum McGuire, said ‘‘Although there’s a commonly held perception that poor quality student housing is a rite of passage, it is both disgusting and unacceptable that students should live in vermin infested housing in this day and age. Our research has raised alarming health and safety issues and we are calling for more effective enforcement of standards to ensure students’ homes are fit for study.”
Local housing issues, such as vermin infestations, currently fall under the remit of local government. The NUS is urging the government to ensure that local councils are given sufficient resources and the capacity to deal with student housing problems.
Chief Executive of Shelter, Campbell Robb, added, “no one should be forced to live in a home that is a danger to their health and wellbeing – so these findings are shocking. This can’t carry on. The government must do more to improve our broken rental market, and make sure that every landlord provides the safe and decent home that we all deserve.”
One Cardiff University student said “We would often find slugs in our kitchen because the back door could often be left open. The problem was ignored by our letting agent because they blamed us, even though they should have taken responsibility.”
The NUS has announced it will be supporting students unions to work more closely with their institutions to improve the state of student housing, and to ensure that housing support is high on the agenda for both unions and universities.