Only My Share raises concerns over students struggling with rent, as claims rise 300%
- 50% of students struggle with their rent and 47% borrow to pay it (Save the Student)
- Alarming number of renters unaware of their liability for their housemates’ rent
- Only My Share sees 300% increase in number of claims during pandemic
Has there ever been a more complex and convoluted time for student renters than the past year? The latest Save the Student survey has revealed some interesting insights into the relationship between students and their accommodation, a year into the pandemic.
One of the most worrying statistics is that 50% of students report struggling with their rent. The financial burden that young people take on for their accommodation while at university has seen 60% report a resulting negative impact on their health in the past year. 45%, meanwhile, say that their studying has been negatively impacted by issues around paying rent.
“Young people come under enormous financial pressure when it comes to affording higher education in the UK. For many, the affordability of their accommodation is a near-constant worry. Parents and guardians also come under pressure to provide financial support, from acting as guarantors to helping out with rent payments.”
Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Only My Share
Save the Student reports that 47% of students borrow money to pay their rent, most notably from parents (27%) and banks (22%). On average, parents contribute £2,288 per year towards student rent.
Rent arrears protection service Only My Share points out that this is a major source of stress for furloughed parents and those who’ve lost their jobs or are facing financial insecurity as a result of the pandemic. The situation is exacerbated by tenancies that include joint and several clauses, under which students are responsible for their housemates’ share of the rent, as well as their own.
“Many student renters – and their guarantors – are unaware that they are liable for the rent of housemates who fail to pay under joint and several clauses. Consider that one in three students don’t even read their rental contract before signing it and the scale of the problem quickly becomes apparent.”
Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Only My Share
Covid-19 has made the situation more complicated, with lockdowns and online learning raising question marks over students paying for accommodation that they aren’t using. Yet despite the pandemic, Save the Student reports that 28% of students have already signed a contract for their accommodation for the 2021/22 academic year.
Only My Share, which is part of the Housing Handfamily, saw sales numbers for its joint and several liability cover rise by 82% between March and September 2020, compared to the same period a year before. It was also seen claims rocket, with an increase of 300% as a result of the pandemic. Group Operations Director Terry Mason observes:
“As the uncertainties stemming from the pandemic continue, it is encouraging that an increasing number of families are realising that they can take steps to mitigate their risk in terms of rental liabilities.”
The company’s advice to any students currently considering their rental options for 2021/22 is to first and foremost read the contract in detail. Secondly, Only My Share suggests asking for a break clause in the contract, if one isn’t already included. Naturally, the company also recommends that students take out rent arrears protection, to limit their liability to only their own share of the rent. By doing so, students are as protected as they can be in the face of continuing uncertainty ahead.
For more information, please contact Only My Share today on +44 (0) 203 887 2961 or visit https://onlymyshare.com/