Local letting centres are dreading a fall in business as Bournemouth University is hit with a 15% drop in 2012 student applications.
UK Government has announced that from September 2012 universities in England can charge students up to £9,000 a year. Bournemouth University’s decision to increase its fees has caused a tremendous decrease in student applications for next year.
Matt Hutchinson, director of Spareroom said: “While the drop will affect Spareroom to some degree, the reality is that shared accommodation is an essential part of life for most young, and even not so young, people these days. The biggest age group on Spareroom at the moment is 25-29.”
The local letting agencies like Spareroom and local house-owners accommodating students rely on big letting agencies like Rightmove for their business.
Student house-owner Kay Frier said: “We have already experienced students dropping out from the course and leaving the room they’ve rented ignoring contracts they signed. We advertise in Rightmove for customers and it has worked so far but we do fear for next year.”
The decrease in student population will affect not only the letting agents but also local businesses in Bournemouth.
Mr Hutchinson said: “The drop in university applications will have widespread consequences. Local businesses in university towns will be hit hard, especially in places where students make up a sizeable chunk of the population for most of the year.”
Mrs Frier said: “Because we have a house in Bournemouth my son was able to study in Bournemouth without paying rent till last year but that is not the case with other students who come from various parts of the country. They will not be able to afford university fees and living expenses together.”
Mr Hutchinson said: “University is a great experience, not just for the qualifications – for most people it’s their first experience of living away from home, sharing with others and renting.”