Kingston University students have voiced their frustrations after many found themselves with nowhere to live at the start of the first semester.
The local housing crisis has left some students without accommodation and a fear of having to drop out of university.
Second year Law student Divya Prasanna Ramarathnam had to stay in a local hotel for the first three weeks of term, due to having no accommodation.
“I started looking for housing at the beginning of the year but found nowhere, all the estate agents kept telling us to give up. The halls team were so hard to contact too. It was crazy, I had never felt so stressed,” she said.
Ramarathnam has now been offered accommodation in Seething Wells Halls of Residence, but says she feels rushed and unsettled due to moving in a month after everybody else.
Before getting accommodation, Ramarathnam commuted from Bristol and had to stay a Travelodge from Monday to Friday.
In an attempt to help her out, the University accommodation team paid for half of her hotel costs, which came in at over £400.
A spokesperson from university accommodation team said: “Halls accommodation is not guaranteed and is subject to room availability. We strongly advise seeking accommodation privately as we may not be able to
Estate agents in Kingston say they are receiving “thousands” of calls about single student properties.
They also say they have been receiving offers way over asking price for student rentals.
Niamh Buttle, a first year criminology and forensic psychology student living in Seething Wells halls, said she only found out about her room one week before the beginning of term, despite having chosen her accommodation earlier in the year.
“I haven’t really spoken to anyone here, I haven’t got any friends yet as I’m with all boys, so I’ve been feeling all by myself in my accommodation. It’s been pretty hard,” she said.
The university offers halls accommodation on a waitlist system, with some
students being placed higher than other due to certain conditions.
Automated emails have been sent out to students, saying: “You are currently on the Kingston University halls waitlist for 22/23 academic year. We can confirm that at present we are NOT able to allocate you a room. You are still on the waitlist. If you want to remain on the waitlist, you do not need to do anything. Please only contact us if you want to remove yourself from waitlist or need further private sector housing advice.”
The university said that they aim to accommodate most returning students by
October 2022 “at the very latest”.