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Students face accommodation shortage

With students returning to the University of Edinburgh over the past few weeks for the start of the new semester, many will be collecting flat keys and decorating new rooms. 

However, a growing number of students have been unable to secure accommodation for the upcoming semester.

The shortage in student accommodation in Edinburgh is apparent from the number of replies to accommodation related posts on ‘The Meadows Share’, a facebook community group that many students will be familiar with. 

A post in September advertising a spare bedroom in Newington received 42 comments, whilst a post only a few days later looking for a fourth flat mate for a flat on Lauderdale Street received 56 comments. 

A post on another facebook page, called ‘Edinburgh Flat Share’, advertising a spare room on  6 September received 22 comments within half an hour. 

Speaking to The Student about the shortage in student flats this year, one University of Edinburgh student pointed out: 

“Think how many more people will have directly messaged the person without commenting on the post. There’s no hope.”

Desperate students have been offering up to £700 pcm for spare rooms on ‘The Meadow Share’.

In 2017 The Student revealed that for every student room in Edinburgh, five people were competing for it. 

The ratio will have worsened in years gone by, with the university’s annual undergraduate admissions  increasing by an extra 910 people every year.

Why the shortage of student flats? 

Alongside the annual inflation of admissions to the university, new Scottish tenancy laws allow renters to break a contract with only one month’s notice – meaning that letting agents and landlords now receive less notice as to when one of their flats will become vacant. 

Fears that years abroad might be cancelled at the last minute, as they were last year, has also contributed to the flat crisis, with many people opting to stay in Edinburgh for their third year.

A student who flat hunted for two months only to have two viewings cancelled, called the process of last-minute viewing cancellations “soul-destroying”. 

Another student who has already had eight flat viewings cancelled this week described it as “tedious [and] exhausting, that [she has] spent more time focusing on finding a flat than [her] university studies”. 

When asked what the university was doing to alleviate the student accommodation shortage, a University of Edinburgh spokesperson said: 

“Students can choose from a variety of quality accommodation options, located both on our campuses and in surrounding areas.” 

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