The Crazy Figures Behind Student Rent

As seen in Roar's January/February Print Edition

Student rent received by KCL accommodations has increased by more than £11 million in two years. But it seems the refurbishment and maintenance fund has fallen.

In a Freedom of Information request, King’s College London revealed that they received an annual turnover of £33,508,692 from weekly student rents in 2015/16 , a number which has increased to £45,171,070 in 2017/18. Much of this rent money is placed in established reserves, which build a fund specifically used for refurbishment across the College’s four privately owned residences.

In 2015/16, refurbishment budget figures stood at £2,020,000 for the housing of 5,234 students across 12 residences, four of which are owned and operated directly by the College. Yet despite an increase in rent turnover over the past two years by £11.6 million between in 2015/16 and 2017/18, the refurbishment budget has been reduced by £63,000 compared to the previous year.

It is well documented that the university acquires an enormous amount from rent each year, yet very little is known about exactly how much money is spent on refurbishment and where. 

The Information Compliance department at King’s stated the College “maintains, repairs and refurbishes its accommodation to ensure standards are maintained for all students.”

While the College asserts this is the case, many students have expressed their dissatisfaction with services, reporting inconsistent heating and lack of hot water.

Many students could not believe how much money there was compared to what they saw being actively reinvested into their accommodation while living there.

Zoe, who lives at Great Dover Street Apartments said: “The extreme cost of rent only seems to be paying for the location and the privilege to live with other students because it is certainly not paying for maintenance. I had a problem with my shower for weeks, and the light in my kitchen doesn’t switch off, even though its automatic. I’ve reported the problem twice yet nothing has been done.”

Priyanka, a student at Stamford Street Apartments said: “Hot water is something you don’t get regularly here. My friend came over to stay the other week, and she noted that the heating was on but the room was still quite cold. It is a clear indication of the maintenance problems this accommodation has.”

While these numbers only reveal the bare bones of the operation the College runs, it shows that much of what the College is doing with student rents is still to be answered for, and is managed in a way which fails to consider the awareness of the students who pay.

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