‘Housing crisis’ in St Andrews as students are forced to find digs in Dundee
Benjamin Balla, 21, a masters student who lives in accommodation in Dundee due to lack of availability at St Andrews, said he was ‘mis-sold’ by the university. “It’s not the same,” he said. “There was very little communication about the accommodation issue.” He said the journey from Dundee, which includes a 25-minute bus journey, was “quite exhausting”.
An 18-year-old Scottish student forced to live in Dundee told the Telegraph: “I certainly didn’t anticipate this. I told my parents: “I’m going to St Andrews but I don’t feel like it anymore”. Speaking from a cafe between lectures, she said: ‘We can get access to a suburban hall [for students who don’t live in the town] but it’s not great.
Landlords have converted properties to AirBnBs in response to the Scottish Government’s ban on raising rents and evicting tenants until March 31 next year.
A cap on the number of multiple occupancy houses in the town, imposed by Fife Council, has also led private landlords to close rooms in flats and houses to avoid falling under licensing.
The number of students at the university has grown from just under 9,000 in 2018 to 10,425 this year. The university says it has been forced to accept more students than expected during the pandemic as inflation in A-levels and above has led to far greater than expected numbers of students responding to their offers conditional.
William Finlator, 20, a second-year history student who had to couch surf and rent an AirBnB at the start of term before finding private accommodation, accused the university of acting “scandalously”.
“Over the past ten years, it has failed to act on what was increasingly evident: there is not enough housing for everyone,” he said.