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Students are easy money

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John Chilvers tell his abysmal experience of student housing and urges the rest of us to stand up and demand more from out tenants!

IT’S that time of year again: searching for a new house, and the awkward moment of feeling like an intruder swanning around a stranger’s bedroom is back! For extra fun, on returning home you find even more strangers looking in your cupboards and wardrobes laughing at your neatly hung batman costume. Once you find the ‘house of your dreams’ – or just the house with the least mould – you have to go through the inevitable process of being told the price has gone up once again.

All this money for what are, for a lot of the time, shabby and unhelpful landlords. As we all know, student housing in Exeter is expensive, but are we getting our money’s worth? I think not. Everyone has a dismal housing-related story, or knows someone who does. On my first week of moving into my new house I was excited – gone were the constraints of halls and those 9am fire alarms. I could say goodbye to estate patrol coming round after seeing me play football in the hallway on CCTV. I felt like a an adult.

Then I wandered into my new lounge, finding to my joy that the front window happened to not be connected to the wall securely. I rang the landlord and explained that I could put my hand through the gap and open the window from the outside of the house. His response was gold: “don’t worry son, it’s not a security threat. I’ve never heard of a robbery on Vic Street; you’ll be fine” (ironically just before Christ-mas we were broken into). It took him four weeks in the end to eventually listen to my pleas for a window that didn’t have a gaping hole in it.

My case is not an isolated one: student landlords feel that students are easy money who will live in anything as long as it has a roof. Rent goes up each year in almost all student accommodation with very little to show for the extra £s.

We as students need to be more demanding and forceful in our expectations of landlords. If anyone brought a pair of jeans from a shop and they had a hole in they would demand their money back, and it should be the same with housing. Landlords have had it easy for too long: it’s time students got real value for ever in-creasing rents.

– John Chilvers

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