Arts Students' Union's groundbreaking research into the experiences of students at University of the Arts London (UAL) in the private rental sector releases today.
Arts Students' Union's (Arts SU) groundbreaking research report into the experiences of students at University of the Arts London (UAL) in the private rental sector releases today.
Over 300 students shared their experiences with us, on a wide range of topics including affordability of accommodation, living conditions (including having enough space to live and study, and whether their accommodation feels like home), and the impact their living situation has on their physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. We are incredibly grateful to every student who responded, opening up and sharing their experiences in the private rental sector with us to enable us to produce this report.
The findings of our research illustrate huge levels of dissatisfaction with the private rental sector and how it impacts students. Over half of respondents (51.57%) reported that the condition of their accommodation has negatively impacted on their mental health. There is a crisis of mental health amongst students, and poor-quality, unsafe accommodation is a major contributing factor. A majority of respondents also reported taking measures to stay warm, including wearing extra clothes to bed (69.26%), staying in UAL buildings for longer (39.69%), and choosing to socialise rather than staying at home (23.74%).
Back in 2020, Arts SU researched UAL students' experiences of their accommodation while studying during lockdown, and since then, students have continued to raise the living conditions of their accommodation as a factor affecting their attainment and ability to thrive while at UAL. While UAL conducts its own surveys, this does not take into account the many students who rent privately. With the release of our Private Renters Report, Arts SU seeks to secure both immediate and long-term solutions and practical support from UAL and in the private rental market to improve the poor, overpriced conditions many of our members find themselves living in. With a list of short-term and long-term recommendations found at the end of the report, Arts SU aims to take meaningful strides to lobby for real change for our students.
The Arts SU Private Renters Report is authored by Calum Sherwood, Arts SU's Senior Policy & Research Officer, and designed by Marina Marbella, Arts SU's Graphic Designer. You can find the report in full here.