QMSU should lobby the University to improve the accessibility of affordable student housing

Date lapsed: October 2023

Liberation - inclusion - accessibility

Date lapsed: October 2023

Proposed by: Eloise Harris
Seconded by: Courtney Mann

Progress: Ongoing

 

What do you want?

 

For the union to stand against the university attempting to profit from student housing, and for the union to oppose QMUL outsourcing student housing buildings to external providers such as Scape. We also want the union to oppose the demolition of student housing without substantial plans to replace demolished houses and provide legitimately affordable accommodation for students.

 

Why do you want it?

QMUL is one of the most diverse universities in the UK, as displayed by the following statistics:

  • 66% of students are BAME
  • 9/10 students coming from non-fee paying schools
  • 42% of students are the first in their families to attend university
  • 27% of students are from a household with annual taxable income less than £10k

There are currently 3610 rooms across all campuses, which is not enough housing for undergraduates entering their first year of university at QMUL, resulting in many students having to seek private accommodation.

Out of these 3610 rooms across the campuses, 2510 are owned by the university, and 1100 are owned by the private student accommodation firm Scape.

Scape accounts for ? of all campus based accommodation.

Scape charges a minimum of £245 per week for a standard room (Canalside).

The most expensive accommodation owned by QM: £181 p/w, £724 per month, £6878 per year (38 weeks).

Comparatively, the cheapest accommodation at Scape (Mile End): £261 p/w, £1044 per month, £9918 per year (38 weeks) - a difference of £3040.

 

What impact will this have?

By continuing to sell buildings to Scape, QMUL is complicit in pricing out working class students out of the university. QMUL is unique in terms of the diversity of its student intake in comparison to other Russell Group universities, meaning that students have a specific set of needs in order to ensure they can engage fully in their studies as well as live comfortably. Students being forced into seeking private accommodation could potentially be putting themselves in danger: slum landlords, homophobic/transphobic/racist/otherwise abusive flatmates, poor living conditions, et cetera.

By standing against efforts to price working class students out of London, QMSU will be standing against rogue landlords trying to profit off students who have just moved to London, and will also make attending QMUL less financially burdensome on students who aren’t able to have their rent supplemented by their family.

By encouraging the university to invest in affordable housing/maintain current housing to an adequate condition, this will ensure a more enjoyable first year experience for undergraduates and postgraduates and encourage them to continue with their students.

 

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