Half of students are facing cold and mould in accommodation, study finds

Video report and words by Cree-Summer Haughton, ITV News' Here's The Story

Over half of students have damp or mould in their current accommodation, according to figures from Students Organising for Sustainability UK.

Sophia Crothall, a student at the University of Bristol, told ITV News: “My flatmate went to hospital and they found, like, black mould in her lungs. “

She says her friend's diagnosis has added to the already immense pressure of studying and working to make ends meet.

“It's just made me quite anxious and more than anything stressed," she said.

Sophia Crothall says she has been 'back and forth to the doctors' as a result of the mould in her accommodation. Credit: Sophie Crothall

“I’ve been back and forth to the doctors, just in general, having my health checked up, but more than anything, it's been speaking to them about the stress.”

Ms Crothall is not alone - 56% have expressed that the living conditions in their accommodation is making them feel "miserable".

One in 10 respondents even admitted having experienced homelessness since starting their studies, further highlighting the gathering storm as many continue to struggle during the cost of living crisis.

Ms Crothall said her landlord knows she would be leaving in a few months so they’ve been putting off doing any repairs.

Due to the current rental market and financial pressures, if she decided to leave her home she would be at risk of homelessness.

“Our boiler didn't work either, so we were living in a very cold house, which obviously doesn't help the situation.," she said.

“We've sent other correspondence back and forth and it just gets ignored or delayed.

“We'll look for said and contractors don't show up and it's like all they're doing is just pushing it further and further away.

“There needs to be some greater push for deadlines on things because if you just keep popping out of nothing's ever going to happen," she added.

Laura Field, NUS Vice President for Higher Education, said: “Students are suffering and energy poverty is a major issue.

Ms Crothall said her landlord knows she would be leaving soon - so they have 'put off doing any repairs'. Credit: Sophie Crothall

"Too little of the help the government has put in place to assist with energy bills and the cost of living reaches students."

“The energy support scheme was a key plank of the government’s response to the cost-of-living crisis, yet 40% of the students living in private rental accommodation said they did not receive this money.

“The rising cost of rent is also a significant concern and rent controls are desperately needed throughout the UK to make housing more affordable for student tenants.”

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