Student housing hell: A quarter of student houses are infested with vermin, claims NUS


One in four student homes are infested with vermin, a shocking new NUS study has revealed.

Almost two thirds (61 per cent), meanwhile, were forced to live with damp, mould or condensation in their home according to the survey, which asked nearly 3,000 students about their experiences in privately rented accommodation.

These housing issues were aggravated by financial problems, with 39 per cent reporting that they struggled with energy bills. To cope with this, two thirds resorted to wearing extra layer of clothing to bed, and 40 per cent chose to spend more time in university buildings to stay warm. And those renting from a letting agent paid an average of £400 to set up their tenancy.

Students flocked to Twitter to share their experiences of living in unpleasant private accommodation using the #housinghell hashtag.

Haley Bell reported “mould, damp, poor ventilation, radiator in my bedroom broke during exam time in winter, took a week and half to fix :(“

“Mice living in our house, EHO wouldn't come to investigate! Forced to find replacement tenants before we could leave” said Giorgio Cassella.

“Landlord charged us £10 to remove a lamp. It was his lamp listed on the inventory! Oh and the wall fell in on the first day” added Chelsea Worth.

These findings come as part of an NUS campaign for proper regulation of letting agents, as well as proposing an end to letting fees.

The NUS’ vice president for welfare, Colum McGuire, believes students put up with poor housing unreasonably.

He said: “Although there’s a commonly held perception that poor quality student housing is a rite of passage, it is both disgusting and unacceptable that students should live in vermin infested housing in this day and age.”

Morẹnikẹ Adebayo, 23, and studying at the University of York, said: “We started having issues with appliances that were advertised as part of the house. The dishwasher overflowed and shorted the house several times, causing the lightbulbs to break spontaneously at any moment.

“After repetitively trying to notify the landlady of this – she fobbed us off with excuses for five months -  she has now said that the part that would need to be replaced is too costly to get so we'll just have to do without.”

The NUS has created a list of recommendations for the Government to safeguard students from housing problems like these, which include banning letting agent fees and undertaking research to see whether more can be done to protect deposits.

The report suggests also that the government fund councils more to prevent and end infestations.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins told the BBC “We have given councils £4 million to tackle the small minority of rogue landlords, and will be requiring letting agents to belong to redress schemes, so students will have somewhere to complain if they get a poor deal.”

"However, we need to get the balance right, as excessive regulation would simply force up student rents."

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'