BM83: Resolution on University Students Housing emergency

25.11.2022
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With the return to university following the pandemic and due to the lack of university residences, about 730,000 non-resident students are forced to rent a room to study and attend university. 

To cope with this real housing emergency, the State is trying to intervene, investing 960 million euros (from the NRRP) in the construction, redevelopment and adaptation of old university residences or buildings to be converted and used as accommodation and to which the Ministry added a further 167 million euros deriving from its own funds. The main regulatory reference on this point is Law 338/2000, which provides that the ministry of HE and Research periodically publishes a specific ministerial decree which allows HEIs and other institutions to submit requests for the renovation or construction of university residences, with a coverage of the costs of the project by the state that can reach up to 75% of the total cost. 

The main objective is the construction of approximately 100,000 rooms by 2026, increasing the number of places available up to a total of approximately 136,500. However, it is clear that a very high number of non-resident students (approximately 630,000) will not have a university residence in which to stay. 

Despite being the largest investment in university housing in the last twenty-five years, the national measure adopted is totally insufficient, forcing hundreds of thousands of students to resort to the rental market. 

The report annually carried out by immobiliare.it this year records a further increase in the national average price of single room rents, which goes from € 336 in 2021 to the current € 439, with an increase of 11%. At these costs, the expenses for the maintenance of the house, bills, food, travel and any other costs attributable to living away from home are excluded. Such a constant and by now consolidated increase in prices that is making life on the move increasingly unsustainable in a context where the demand for rooms has already returned to pre-pandemic levels (+ 45% request for single rooms compared to 2021 and +  41% demand for double rooms compared to 2021), with an offer that, however, struggles to keep up with demand (only + 7% supply for single rooms compared to 2021). 

In addition to non-resident students, the situation has also become very complicated for Erasmus and international students. For the same reasons, finding accommodation for the mobility period in Italy is becoming increasingly complex, and Erasmus and international students are forced to live in unsustainable conditions. Victims of this emergency are also the Spanish Erasmus students, who have reported this situation several times to the Spanish institutions, which led to the approval of a joint statement between the national agency SEPIE and the Crue-Internacionalización y Cooperación on the issue. 

Therefore, the European Students’ Union, along with UDU, urge and demands for the Government of Italy to:

  • Establish a national observatory that analyses the rental market; 
  • Establish an accessible database with statistical information on leases; – Introduction of a student representation in the bargaining tables for local agreements on leases; 
  • Review of the criteria useful for calculating the correct amount of the rent; – Regulation of the furniture and minimum services of the rented apartment; – Establishment of a national and regional rent contribution to cover rental costs for off-site and Erasmus students; 
  • Total coverage of all ancillary costs (condominium, heating, water, electricity, gas, waste tax and food); 
  • Drafting of a register of public and private buildings unused or confiscated from the Mafia to be converted into university residences; 
  • Identification of active measures aimed at mobilizing vacant real estate assets;
  • Guarantee all off-site and Erasmus students a room in a university residence.

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