‘We’ll take anything’ Durham University students queue overnight to secure accommodation

Video Durham University students have been queuing through the night to secure accommodation for their next year of studies.

Footage taken earlier this week showed long queues of students camping overnight outside estate agents.

They said the university has been over subscribed and landlords have increased prices which has resulted in a shortage of affordable housing in the city.

Some of the students queueing said "we’ll take anything, we’re quite desperate".

  • Students queued throughout the night to secure housing for their next year at university. Credit: PALTV

A protest has since been held by Durham University students about the issue.

Second year student Jasmine Leigh, who attended the rally on Friday 28 October, said trying to find housing had been the "largest stress" in the last few weeks.

"I've done half the amount of work I've been meaning to do this year. I've spent way to much time just looking at houses," she told ITV Tyne Tees. "Contacting landlords just to hear 'sorry all our properties are gone'.

"I can't getting through my degree with the stress of genuinely being homeless next year."

She added: "It's not a normal university experience."

Student Jacob Burgess-Rollo claimed the university was "over-subscribed" and said people were at "maximum stress" as they tried to juggle university work with finding accommodation.

He said: "They've got essays to write, they've got things to do and they haven't been able to do this."

He said one estate agent released all of their houses without announcing it when this would be beforehand and within 15 minutes all of the houses were gone.

A protest was held in Durham about the availability of student accommodation. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees News

Emilia Batt, a second year English literature student, also thought there were "too many" students in Durham and said many were being priced out of the market.

She said: "The chaos of it has caused many people to snap sign and sign places where they don't have enough people in their house and have to sign for an extra person or to have to live on their own isolated.

"I've spent over a month looking. I've missed lectures stayed up late I have called up people at all hours of the day trying to found a house and still haven't found one."

"It's completely demoralising."

Durham University said it had reduced its intake this year after taking in a larger cohort in 2021, due to the late changes in A level grade boundaries.

A spokesperson said: “We have reassured all our students that we will support them in finding suitable accommodation either in college or elsewhere.

“We cannot exert control over the private rental market.

“We have seen some deplorable behaviour by letting agents and landlords in Durham, putting up prices above inflation and releasing properties much earlier than usual.

“We have put in place a package of financial support to help students through the cost of living crisis.

"Like many other UK universities we were obliged by the late change in A level grade boundaries to take in a larger than usual student cohort in 2021. We reduced our intake this academic year.

“We also join Universities UK in calling for increased hardship funds and grants for UK students nationally.”

Students were filmed queuing for hours to try and secure housing in Durham next year. Credit: PalTV

Mary Kelly Foy, MP for City of Durham, has written to 12 of the major estate agents in the city. She said: "Myself and the student union have written to the landlords to ask for their side of the story.

"Why are they releasing these houses so early? Why are the costs going up? Can they work with me, and others, to try and find a solution to this so that's one thing I can do.

"I think it was very disappointing to learn that the university had implemented a landlord's accreditation scheme so that all landlords would work together to provide decent housing and also to release the houses at the same time, but unfortunately there are many landlords who have decided just not to engage with that process which is something that I hope to work with the university and the council on."

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