BM64 – Appropriate and affordable housing for all students

03.05.2013
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Finding an appropriate and affordable housing has become a major challenge for students in Europe. In times of growing student mobility, the students’ need for flexible changes of their place of living has increased and still increases rapidly.
The housing that is available in many places does not meet the actual demand. Lots of students do not have a place to stay in at the beginning of a term, some of them do not even manage to find one during the term, and of those who have one many are forced to spend huge parts of their income for this reason, or else live in a place that is inappropriate. This leads to a further social selection among students. The opportunity to study must not depend on being able to afford accommodation.

Students do not need first-class investment opportunities or privileged apartments, students need to have a reasonable place of living – both in terms of price and properties of the respective house. Especially in this market segment, housing is needed but not sufficiently supplied, and the problem exists mostly in university cities. Instead of offering low-priced housing and giving all students the possibility to afford an appropriate place to stay in, more and more houses are offered for high-prices as “investment opportunities”.

In many countries, this is among others due to the fact that public social housing projects have been terminated or had their budgets cut. Housing, though it has seldom been seen as a solely public responsibility, has meanwhile turned into a private-only business, and objects attractive to investors are usually those to be found in a high price range.

ESU calls for the EU institutions to implement a social European fund guaranteeing student mobility including housing. European institutions should also encourage countries to develop policies of rent regulations in private areas.

Indeed, we call upon the respective, mostly national and local democratic institutions to regard housing as a public responsibility and a public task. Social housing projects need to be revived and an appropriate and affordable housing must be secured. Students must be eligible for renting apartments of social housing without regard to their nationalities.

Therefore, ESU calls for concrete measures concerning student housing, and special policies regarding students’ rents regulations. These policies must fit students’ realities and needs, that are based on differentiated criteria and that would ensure fair rent prices. They must serve students’ need to change their place of living flexibly. Students’ needs for housing are different than the rest of the population, so should be the regulations.

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