Durham Uni to offer up to 800 rooms in college to alleviate Durham student housing crisis

The university admitted they had ‘anticipated’ the current situation

Durham University is hoping to offer between 750-800 beds in college to students who are struggling to find a house amid the ongoing student housing crisis.

The beds are set to become available to students in late November in line with the Durham Students’ Union ‘take time to sign’ campaign.

In an email to all students, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Jeremy Cook told students the university “will do everything possible” to support students in finding housing for next year. He said: “We want to ensure you can make informed choices as to your living arrangements without feeling under undue pressure to make decisions.”

He then admitted to saying the university “anticipated” the current situation which has seen hundreds of Durham students queue through the night outside lettings agencies in the past two weeks in a bid to secure housing for next year.

“We had anticipated pressure on the private rental market,” he said. “[We] had earlier engaged in a dialogue with lettings agents to encourage them not to enter into early selling.

“Unfortunately we have still seen an early rush for accommodation. We have worked rapidly to communicate with and offer additional support to our students on this matter. “

The university says if you are struggling to find housing for next year to contact your college where you can find support. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor’s email does not mention what said “support” actually entails.

By the middle of next term Durham Uni will create a dedicated contact email for students who are still unable to find housing. The uni says it will “work with these students, Durham County Council and the housing market to provide support and guidance in finding a room”.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Jeremy Cook is creating a “housing group”, chaired by himself which will include student leaders. However, one of the objectives of the group will be working towards fixing the issue for next academic year.

“It will ensure that we plan early and carefully for next academic year while continuing to address in-year issues related to student housing.”

First year students who join Durham next year will still be guaranteed a bed in college. For those who do wish to return to live in college, the university says it will “shortly be taking expressions of interest” from those students.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• I’m a fresher and the Durham Uni housing crisis is especially frightening for us

• Durham students driven to queuing overnight on the street again amidst housing crisis

• A Durham Uni student says their rent is going up over £ 1,000 next year

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