We know that the hunt for a house has probably been more difficult than you anticipated, so we just wanted to reach out to acknowledge that and explain how we are advocating to improve the situation.
First of all, why is it getting so hard to find a place to live in Manchester?
- The city is growing: With more people than ever moving here for work and new universities opening, the demand for housing is at an all-time high and supply isn’t keeping pace.
- Graduates are staying: It’s becoming more common for graduates to find employment in Manchester after their studies, adding to the competition for housing.
- Changing housing landscape: Some homes that used to be rented out to students are now being converted to ‘professional rentals’ and others are being used as short-term holiday lets through websites like AirBnB. This reduces the number of homes available for students.
- Increasing rent: The cost of living and rising interest rates is resulting in an increase in rents. And some landlords are taking advantage of the situation. New practices, like the use of dynamic pricing in some private halls, create even more competition for cheaper housing.
How we’re standing up for you
We are taking an active role and speaking to local and national government, on your behalf, to improve the situation. We are:
- Lobbying for your rights: Your Students’ Union is making sure that your concerns are heard by Mayor Andy Burnham through the Greater Manchester Student Assembly and is collaborating with other students’ unions to lobby central government.
- Collaborating for a better future: We are joining forces with other colleges and universities in Greater Manchester, including BPP, UA92, University Campus of Football Business, Salford, Bolton, Manchester Metropolitan, and the Royal Northern College of Music, to gather information on the number of students coming to the area in the next 5 years. This information will be shared with Manchester City Council to help inform their plans.
- Standing up for affordable rent: When Manchester City Council asks for comments on new student accommodation plans, we speak up for affordable rents and won’t support any schemes that don’t offer good value for money.
- Advocating for improved maintenance grants: We agree that that the 2.8% increase in the student maintenance loans provided by the UK Government is insufficient. We’re actively working with other universities to encourage a review of this and our President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Nancy Rothwell, has been lobbying government ministers on this issue.
When it comes to our own residences:
- We don’t make a profit from the rent we charge. Rental income goes towards our operating costs, including the hundreds of staff we have working in residences; ResLife, the 24/7 wellbeing and pastoral support programme we launched across all our halls in 2016; a programme of social events; rapidly rising energy costs; and maintenance and development – with a £20million programme of refurbishment work starting in Oak House and Dalton Ellis Hall this summer.
- We offer a variety of accommodation types, with our rents starting at one of the lowest price points in the Russell Group, and much lower than private halls – and we’re committed to keeping it that way.
- We’re working on a major investment and development strategy to accelerate the planned modernisation of our accommodation – and we’ll consult students to make sure your views are heard.
Housing rights – support and advice
- If you would like free, independent support or advice about a housing issue, you can speak to Manchester Student Homes who are based at the Students’ Union.
- You can also speak to the Manchester Student Renters Union, a student-led society that empowers students in Manchester on housing rights. If you’re facing issues with your landlord, need repairs done, or want to challenge a charge, they’re here to help.