SU criticised for advertising “luxury” student accommodation

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A motion to end the advertising of unaffordable housing by the Student’s Union will be discussed at the upcoming Assembly meeting. It comes after the SU provided adverts for private student accommodation this term.

The motion, which defines luxury accommodation as “accommodation for which the rent is significantly higher than the average student loan”, encourages the SU to end the advertisement of this kind of student living in all circumstances. It also calls for an end to any other accommodation whose providers contradict the Union’s campaign policy. This would mean the SU would not advertise for providers that refuse to forgive rent or let students exit contracts during the pandemic.

One of the accommodation providers the SU has advertised is Fresh Student Living, whose rooms at Dun Holm House range from £8313 to £12,189 a year, at an average of £201 a week. This is higher than both the national average student expenditure (£126) and the average for London students (£182), according to statistics from Times Higher Education. The motion also calls attention to Fresh Student Living having the most expensive rooms out of the six largest accommodation providers in Durham.

If the motion passes, the SU would not advertise for providers that refuse to forgive rent or let students exit contracts

In a recent interview with Purple Radio, SU President Seun Twins noted that the motion would potentially prompt “a financial restructuring” within the SU, as the funds generated from the advertisements are used to maintain services such as the Night Bus.

The Assembly, which is due to meet this evening from 6-8pm, will also discuss policies concerning external speakers, the Assembly’s transparency, and the implementation of an “Intersectionality Week”. Registration to observe the meeting can be found here.

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