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Reference code: 
UP1801
Status: 
Current
Progress: 
Ongoing
Date passed: 
30/10/2018
Date lapses: 
31/10/2020
Lead Officer Role: 
Democracy, Operations and Community Officer

What students need to know (This meeting notes…)

  • That UCL is set to increase the cost of rent in all its halls of residence.
  • That UCL is doing this despite their total income from residences in 2014 being £33,919,000 which represents the highest ratio of income to expenses in residences in recent history.
  • That the average rent charge for En-suite single rooms at UCL 2014/15 is £200 per week (£8000 per year), and that non en-suit average single room at UCL cost on average £162 per week (£6480 per year).
  • That for a student living off an average maintenance loan, these prices either make up the vast majority of the money they get from Student Finance England or exceed or vastly exceed their income.
  • Since 2009, the cost of rent in UCL Accommodation has increased by 30 percent, which translates to annual increases of 4 percent or more; well above the rate of inflation, which is 1.9 percent nationwide.
  • That since last year the combined student maintenance loan and grant have risen by only 1 percent, well below the rate of inflation and UCL rent increases.
  • That UCL accommodation is on average the most expensive in London.
  • That UCL has recently set up extremely expensive accommodation owned by the private company Unite and that part of the rent paid by students here vanishes as profit for this company without being reinvested in halls.
  • That UCL Residences make money to the tune of £56 a night from tourists and visitors staying in halls in the summer.
  • That UCL’s own “2034 Goals” state that UCL aspires to “continue to guarantee affordable accommodation to first year undergraduates”.
  • That UCL students have more or less no say over how rent charges should be set or how the income should be used.
  • That private rent has also soared in London overall.
  • That many students encounter problems with letting agents and landlords throughout London in the private renting sector, especially in regards to stolen deposits and bad housing conditions.
  • That research by the National Union of Students shows that rents are soaring for students across the country; with London students hit the hardest. NUS identifies this as a key part of a “cost of living crisis” for students.

What Union Council thinks about it (This meeting believes…)

  • That the rent is too damn high.
  • That UCL will not meet its own 2034 goal if it does not cut the rent drastically.
  • That it is obscene and exploitative that students have to pay more in rent than they receive in loans or grants.
  • That the high cost of living for students in London is a barrier to many coming to study at UCL and that ever-increasing rent prices will exclude more prospective students from being able to study here.
  • That is it crucial for UCL to cut the rent to prevent UCL from becoming exclusive to those from privileged backgrounds or who receive large scholarships or bursaries.
  • That UCL is capable of cutting the rent, if it were to prioritise this goal.
  • That privately run halls should not be making money off our rent.
  • That all workers in UCL accommodation should have decent terms and conditions and be paid a living wage.
  • That as well seeking to lower rents and more generally improve halls, we should demand lower rents and more rights for private tenants, and for the building of more social housing.
  • That with private rents in London becoming ever-more unaffordable, it is even more important that UCL provides an affordable alternative.
  • That the struggle for lower rent and better conditions at UCL cannot be separated from a wider struggle for lower rent across London.

What we should do (This meeting resolves…)

  • To reaffirm its commitment to campaign to stop the rise of UCL rents and bring them down.
  • To reaffirm its support for the UCL Cut The Rent campaign.
  • To reaffirm its commitment to improve the conditions students encounter in halls.
  • To maintain its demand that UCL reverses all privatisation and outsourcing of accommodation.
  • To support London Renters’ Union and actively encourage students to join, through its communication channels.