Supported by Bristol Cut the Rent, students at the University have gone ahead with a rent strike in response to consistent rent hikes over the past several years, (up to 25% in the last five years) and will do so until demands for affordable rents are agreed upon with the university, with more action planned to further raise awareness of the need for affordable rents.
From 2015/16, rents in Bristol increased on average by 4.5%, and are due to increase by roughly 3.5% for 2017/18.
Despite meetings with the University’s senior management and representatives from Bristol Cut the Rent and Bristol SU in recent months over the issue of sky-high rents, neither side has as of yet manage to come to an agreement.
— Shelly Asquith (@ShellyAsquith) April 10, 2017
‘We believe the University of Bristol has a responsibility to its students to ensure decent housing can be accepted at a fair price. Put simply, the high rents solicited by University of Bristol’s accommodation services are unfair. More and more students are now either forced by their own university into financial difficulty by unaffordable accommodation fees, or decide not to apply as their financial status becomes an unofficial entry requirement’ said Bristol Cut the Rent in a statement addressed to the university’s Vice Chancellor Hugh Brady.
The group in its statement also clearly stated its demands from the university, including asking for full transparency over the running and maintenance costs of student accommodation, a restoration of 2015/16 rent levels for all students in university accommodation in 2016/17 and 2017/18, as well as a full re-examination over its rent setting policies in consultation with students.
A University of Bristol spokesperson said:
“The University does not make a profit from residential accommodation and simply seeks to cover its costs.
The price of accommodation is similar to that charged by universities in the other cities in the south of England and is competitive against private rented accommodation in Bristol.
“We recognise that accommodation is a significant cost for students, and this year we have worked with the Students’ Union with the aim of establishing rent setting principles.
“Every year, we make a number of rooms available at lower rents and we consult with our Students’ Union on the cost of those. We have also recently agreed a residential bursary scheme for students joining us from households with a low income.
“We are always looking at ways to improve efficiency to provide the most cost effective service we can, and will continue to work with student representatives on this issue.”
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