Students Begin begging to stay in flats

Hundreds of Scottish university students have been begging to let agents accept their bids on flats amid a major accommodation crisis. One firm told the BBC it was being inundated daily with people crying, unable to find somewhere to live.

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Some students have been using hostels and sleeping on common room floors, while others face long commutes.

NUS Scotland said the crisis was forcing people to quit courses.

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Universities Scotland said “a significant contraction in the private rented sector in many Scottish cities” meant that higher education institutions saw “unprecedented pressure” on student accommodation.

In Aberdeen, one agent said it had received around 80 applications for every available property.

Another letting agent in the city said it had been “inundated” with students crying and begging for flats.

Edinburgh Napier University student Emma Gibson, 20, from Livingston, said she had been looking for a flat since June.

She said: “I’ve put in about 30 applications so far, and I’ve only had two replies saying no.”

Ms Gibson said she was now considering giving up her course because of the stress of not having a permanent home.

“I’m sharing a room in a hostel with someone I don’t know,” she said.

“It’s just stressful not knowing where you’re going to live in a few weeks.”

Fife College student Zoe Bruce, 18, from Kirkcaldy, said she had also been looking for a flat since June.

She said: “I’ve applied for about 20 properties and only had two replies back.”

Ms Bruce said she was considering leaving her course because of the accommodation crisis.

“I’m struggling to find somewhere to live,” she said.

“I’m sleeping on my friend’s floor now, and it’s just not ideal.”

NUS Scotland president Liam Burns said the situation was “unacceptable”.

“The cost and availability of housing are already one of the biggest concerns for students,” he said.

“We are now seeing more and more students forced to commute long distances, sleep on friends’ floors or even give up their studies altogether because they simply cannot find anywhere affordable to live.”

A Universities Scotland spokesman said: “There is no doubt that a significant contraction in the private rented sector in many Scottish cities is resulting in unprecedented pressure on student accommodation.

“Universities are working together to lobby for changes to the planning system, which would enable more student housing to be built, as well as providing support and advice directly to students who are struggling to find accommodation.”

The Scottish government said it was “fully aware” of the pressures on student accommodation.

A spokesman said: “We are working with local authorities, universities and colleges, as well as the private sector, to increase the supply of purpose-built student accommodation.”

Students in Scotland face a major accommodation crisis, many resorting to begging to let agents for flats.

The situation has become so dire that some students even consider quitting their courses altogether.

The problem has been exacerbated by a significant contraction in the private rented sector in many Scottish cities. Universities Scotland said this resulted in “unprecedented pressure” on student accommodation.

In Aberdeen, one agent said it had received around 80 applications for every available property. Another letting agent in the city said it had been “inundated” with students crying and begging for flats.

Edinburgh Napier University student Emma Gibson, 20, from Livingston, said she had been looking for a flat since June. She said: “I’ve put in about 30 applications so far, and I’ve only had two replies saying no.” Ms Gibson said she was now considering giving up her course because of the stress of not having a permanent home.

Fife College student Zoe Bruce, 18, from Kirkcaldy, said she had also been looking for a flat since June. She said: “I’ve applied for about 20 properties and only had two replies back.” Ms Bruce said she was considering leaving her course because of the accommodation crisis.

NUS Scotland president Liam Burns said the situation was “unacceptable”. He called on the Scottish government to work with universities and the private sector to increase the supply of purpose-built student accommodation.

A Scottish government spokesman said it was “fully aware” of the pressures on student accommodation and was working with various partners to try and address the issue.

What do you think of the Scottish government’s response to the student accommodation crisis? Let us know in the comments below.

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