‘A panel of students judging a student accommodation award have refused to pick a winner, claiming that none of the nominees provided student housing that would not “force them into poverty”.
The group of ten students were tasked with judging the Student Experience of the Year category in Property Week’s inaugural Student Accommodation Awards.
But the judging panel, who all study at different UK universities, refused to choose a winner, saying that the high rents and fees charged by nominees were symptomatic of a “for-profit sector” that was “driving the social cleansing of education”.
In a letter to the award’s organisers, the students wrote: “Most entrants priced their cheapest rooms above the national average of £146 a week, and certainly above a level that student maintenance loans will reasonably cover. Many charge rents of more than £300 a week.”
They accused the nominees of charging student tenants £400 in fees and failing to detail these fees on their website.
“Another charges hundreds of pounds to act as a guarantor, profiting from the discrimination of migrants and the inability of poor or estranged students to provide a guarantor.” – Huffington Post
‘Laura Lunn-Bates, 21 and a student at Sheffield Hallam University, was one of the judges.
She says the panel had "never met before", but the decision to boycott the category was "unanimous".’ - BBC Newsbeat
‘"We completely respect the decision of the judging panel not to make an award in this category," said a statement from the Student Accommodation Awards.
"Developers and operators of student accommodation strive to produce the very best environment for students but our student judges have sent a clear message that the industry needs to do better."
The statement said organisers had decided to remove the Student Experience category this year and review it in 2017. Future awards will include a category for the best affordable student housing, organisers added.’ – International Business Times