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Tired of your landlord? A student cooperative could be the answer

27 May 2014

The Guardian presented an article about university students are teaming up to take on the private rental market with a fairer solution to student housing

Are you tired of dealing with landlords? The questionable plumbing skills, the endless ignored requests to have that grim shower curtain replaced, the battle to get your deposit returned?

For students in the UK, riding the rental rollercoaster is considered an unavoidable part of the university experience, and the ups and downs don’t come cheap. The National Union of Students (NUS) reports that English students can expect to pay £4,834 a year in rent; in London the average student shells out £6,143.

Gordon Maloney, president of NUS Scotland says: "From charging illegal fees, to withholding deposits for spurious reasons, and worse, far too many tenants still find themselves in an unequal and unfair position."

There could soon be an alternative. Across the UK, student housing cooperatives are emerging as a way for students to bypass landlords and take control of their own accommodation.

In a housing cooperative, each tenant is also a shareholder and has an interest in building and maintaining the property as a communal space. It’s a model that’s been used across the pond for decades, and student activists are hoping that they can repeat the success of housing cooperatives in California and Canada over here.

Most housing co-ops are small and have maybe a dozen tenants, but projects like the Berkeley student cooperative in the US house hundreds. Cooking is done communally, and essential maintenance duties are also performed by students. Many cooperatives operate on a democratic basis, with decisions about matters large and small – from which colour to repaint a wall to how the cooperative invests any profits – voted on by its members. The result is rather like a student-run halls of residence.

Read more at: http://www.theguardian.com/education/mortarboard/2014/apr/28/landlord-student-cooperative-answer

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