Student Accommodation Issue…yet again, but worse!

Thursday 12 February 2004

Once again, the return of students to the Christchurch area is causing issues. At the start of every year there is a major accommodation shortage, which is exasperated by landlords’ increasing rents, capitalising from the captive student market.

By The Landlord

‘Every year it’s the same thing, yet this year we are being charged more and yet the money that we have for living costs remains the same.’ Said Josephine Newman, Acting President of the Lincoln University Students Association. ‘Lincoln Students have only a few options for places to live, and this means in many cases, competing for accommodation with the larger Canterbury Uni Students. The Riccarton/Ilam area is chronic for accommodation shortages at this time of year, and Lincoln Students are forced to compete due to lack of other options. The days of cheap housing are over.’ Quotes Josephine Newman

‘If there were other bus services to Lincoln from places such as Rolleston and Hallswell, Lincoln Students would have options for cheaper accommodation and would therefore not necessarily have to compete with Canterbury Students. For many students at Lincoln it is too expensive to rent in Lincoln itself, considering the average price of rooms is around $100 a week.’

So what solutions are there to a problem such as this? Rising accommodation costs may be a mixed inflation issue as well as landlords and investors capitalising on a captive market such as students. This is unjust says Newman, who believes that ‘access to universal student allowances and accommodation supplements, that genuinely reflect these rising accommodation costs, would mean that students are less pressured to work to supplement their incomes. This pressure to work has meant in many cases a lack of quality education, due to the workload impinging on student’s ability to learn and to stay focussed.’

The issue gets much more complex when you look at the market of International Students. Many investors are providing for international students, with semi and fully furnished rooms, for extortionate prices, ‘in my opinion it is borderline exploitation.

Some landlords seem to think it is an easy income, due to many overseas students not having a good grasp of acceptable and normal rental rates.’

This has definitely been the case in Christchurch, in a worst case scenario where a landlord was caught separating ‘rooms’ with sheets. ‘International students need to be better educated at spotting a rip-off, than they are now.’ Says the Acting LUSA president.

‘For most Lincoln students, more diverse transport routes, and better access to income support, which isn’t excluding 2/3rds of the student population, would be useful solutions to this escalating, yearly problem of accommodation in Christchurch’, Newman said.

Press Release: Lincoln University Students Association
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