September has been and gone and you would expect first year students to be enjoying their halls experience. However, letting agencies have seen a rise in these students looking for second year housing already. Mid October is usually considered early with the peak of viewings happening in mid to late November.
But while this is fantastic news for the private housing sector it does mean that current students living in these homes are being asked to accommodate groups of strangers as they traipse around Chelthenham and Gloucester looking for their next home. This is all while the government is asking us to social distance and not socialise in groups of more than six.
Current tenants are being advised to either leave the house or ensure all tenants are congregated in the living room and out of their rooms, with no efforts to disinfect or clean the areas after the visit. This cleaning is being left to the tenants.
Why do the letting agencies think this is happening?
Student housing agents are experiencing a stark increase in first year students enquiring about private housing for the next year. Eden Properties in Cheltenham have already secured lets for 25% of their 64 property portfolio. They are also seeing an average of 50% of viewings each day turning into secured lets.
But why is this? Martin Cooley from Eden Properties wonders if it is a matter of word getting out that groups have secured housing creating a domino effect of pressure. But there is obviously an aspect of first years not gaining the experience of university life they expected from living in halls of residence.
“This means they are now looking for the security of a private house where they know they are going to be looked after and are not at risk of being locked down in a prison like scenario similar to what we have seen in the news in Manchester”Martin Cooley, Eden Properties
Nick Laing from Carlain Property agrees with this sentiment but also says “We are also experiencing a high level of interest from existing Carlain tenants who want to stay on in their own homes. We like to look after our tenants so this is great news.”