Reduce the rents at university of essex
I have researched average prices for single rooms in university halls from around the UK and here are the results ~ The 12 cheapest universities:
East Anglia £3250
Queens, Belfast £3250
Wolverhampton £3,585 (ensuite)
SOUTHEND 2016 ~ £4057.20 (30wk term)
To answer the proximity to London reason for the increased rent in Southend :
The lowest price in London University room is £110.
Nursing students spend all of their bursary and some of their Maintenance Loan on the rent and many of us subsist on about £30 a week after paying this rent. Added to this we do not get the bursary for the final term of our course. The rent is far in excess of other comparable university rents and more expensive than private renting in the area. I feel that it should be reduced to £100 per week, as there are laundry fees to be considered; most private rents include a washing machine as part of the rent.
By having a rent that is fair in comparison to local rents it would ensure affordability for students and a reduction in empty rooms, or students not being able to pay and being evicted: again resulting in empty rooms; there were many evictions last year due to non-payment of rent.
The above relates to Southend, but I think it may be an issue that all Essex campuses could look into.
This idea was discussed at the Executive Committee. It was agreed that rent is high on the Southend campus. The Campaigns Officer, Chris Flossman, and VP Southend and Loughton, Shola Akinyemi, will take the idea forward and discuss with the University.
The 2016-17 Executive team at an Exec meeting decided that VP Southend, Ernest, and VP Welfare and Community, Jess, will take this idea forward.
Zoe Garshong, the President of SU, has been in discussion with university over this. The University is limited as to what it can do due to the lack of flexibility built into their contracts. Zoe will participate at the University's meeting this month where they will agree the rents.
The University are in a contract that they cannot change but we have got them to reduce the rise in prices. There will now be a representative from the Students Union at every housing negotiation meeting from now on to avoid them doing things we are not okay with.
The University is in a contract with a company called Uliving, which is setting the bills upon which the rents are calculated. Thus, a reduction in rents will not happen very soon. However we have managed to secure two positions in the negotiations of prices and we will make sure that the prices will not increase by an abnormal amount.
In 2014 the University signed a contract with Uliving which is 50 years in length. This means Uliving decide the prices on rents. However, the SU managed to secure a deal with Uliving (through the Unversity) that accomodation prices would only rise in line with inflation. Also, it has been negotiated that either one or both of the following people will sit on the Uliving board: VP Services and Comms and/or Director of Services and Activities. This puts the SU in a much better position to negotiate with Uliving in the future. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that there will be a reduction in accomodation costs any time soon, but reducing the cost of living has now become an SU priority, as voted by parliment, so other ways of reducing the cost of living are being looked at instead. VP Services and Comms is meeting with the head of estates at the University to discuss this further. Unfortunately, this has idea has gone as far as it can for the moment. The SU will continue to monitor this idea and will proivde updates, should there be any progress in the future.