By Rosie Williams
Kingston has long had a shortage of student accommodations but the financial crisis and tough mortgage market over the last few years have meant that the number of people buying to rent has drastically fallen.
David Wheeler, 21, who is currently sleeping on his friend’s floor, said: “I saw an advert on Gumtree earlier for a house in Surbiton which had only been up for 16 minutes and already had over 500 hits.”
In order to meet demand the Kingston area would need hundreds more suitable properties, local estate agents have said.
Jack O’Grady, who works at Yourmove in Surbiton, said: “If we had more student properties available we would be making an absolute mint at the moment.”
The extraordinarily high demand for student accommodation has given landlords in Kingston excuses to charge high rents and to be more particular about tenants.
Many landlords have been choosing female tenants in their final years of University as they are thought to cause less damage, noise and trouble.
“We still have a need for additional student residential accommodation,” said Kris Drane, head of KU accommodation services, though he was unable to give exact figures. “We will continue to work with the Royal Borough of Kingston and others to achieve suitable solutions over time.”