Living at the Limit
Guildford Student Housing Crisis
Last year, we asked you about your experience in renting accommodation in Guildford. What you told us was truly shocking. Today, there is a student housing crisis, one like we have never seen before; exacerbated by the overall housing crisis. Students who are near the bottom rung of the housing ladder are now hit with increasing rents on substandard housing. On top of this, the student community is being increasingly victimised as the cause of the local housing shortage, and accused of taking away ‘family homes’.
We are calling for our housing manifesto to be implemented without delay.
What Students Have Told Us
In the Autumn of 2016, the University of Surrey Students’ Union ran a housing experience survey with current University students. As part of the survey, students who rent in the private accommodation sector were asked:
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your experience renting in Guildford?
The top five themes to emerge from these comments are: the cost of renting, landlords and agents, the standard and quality of accommodation, maintenance/repairs, and the availability of accommodation in Guildford.
"Trying to find somewhere to live at a reasonable price, in a reasonable location, and with good facilities basically does not happen. You pick two out of affordable, good location, and a nice condition."
Parliamentary Candidates' Responses
On 11th May, a letter was sent to all Guildford Borough councillors from Alex Mackenzie Smith, Students' Union President, asking:
"If you were the MP for Guildford, what would you say and do in response to those students who have suffered rising rents, horrendous landlords and been pushed out of Guildford, and who are dealing with ever increasing living costs with insufficient funding?"
It also highlighted the unacceptable situation so many students find themselves in, which was supported by hundreds of comments collated by the Students’ Union, voicing again and again the substandard conditions students have to endure.
The responses we received are below:
Since we asked students to support this campaign we have been overwhelmed with responses. Many of you have taken the time to tell us your experiences and why it is important for this campaign to succeed.
During the general election campaign, we wrote to all the candidates standing in Guildford and asked them for their response to our campaign and what you have said. We have also sent your responses to every single councillor in Guildford and are calling on Guildford Borough Council to endorse our manifesto.
Alongside Living At The Limit, we launched a petition to extend the London student loan weighting. Due to the snap election, the petition was closed early after reaching almost 4,000 signatures. We will consider re-launching this petition in Freshers week.