Students are struggling to study while living in damp and infested homes while living away at university, according to a new study.
At least a quarter of students suffer from homes infested with slugs, mice or cockroaches, says the report Homes Fit For Study from the National Union of Students.
Over 50% of students have homes riddled with damp, condensation and mould growing on walls and furniture claims the research.
And while thousands of students are living in dirty conditions, many more are also concerned about their finances as they plunge into debt to pay deposits to landlords to secure a home.
They also find paying energy bills a problem – and more than half are unaware their landlords should give them an energy performance certificate detailing the costs of heating and powering their rented home.
As a result, the NUS wants better regulation of letting agents and landlords, including a law to scrap letting fees in England and Wales along the lines of legislation in Scotland.
NUS Vice President (Welfare), Colum McGuire, said: “Although there’s a commonly held perception that poor quality student housing is a rite of passage, it is both disgusting and unacceptable that students should live in vermin infested housing in this day and age.
“Our research has raised alarming health and safety issues and we are calling for more effective enforcement of standards to ensure students’ homes are fit for study.”
The NUS is also asking the government to make sure local councils have the cash and manpower to deal with complaints about sub-standard housing.
Many of the poor homes highlighted by the NUS report are private rented houses in multiple occupation (HMO) rather than private or university managed halls of residence.
Download and read the full Homes Fit For Study report