Fewer students but landlord Unite puts up its rents

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The UK's biggest developer of student accommodation shrugged off news of falling university applications yesterday as a chronic shortage of higher education places allows it to push up rents.

The Coalition's controversial move to treble tuition fees from this autumn has sent applications down 7.4 per cent, but Unite still expects to raise rents by up to 4 per cent because demand for university places is still outstripping supply by almost a third.

The firm, which houses 40,000 students in 24 university towns and cities, is building an extra 4,000 bed spaces in London over the next three years to meet demand, particularly from international students.