Student accommodation up to 10% more expensive

Student accommodation up to 10% more expensive
Credit: Belga/ Eric Lalmand

As students in higher education return to universities, many have quickly come to realise that it is significantly harder to find accommodation than last year. For those fortunate enough to find a “kot” – a small student accommodation – the price is often 10% higher than usual.

Inflation, driven by energy uncertainties, is hitting students hard. These young people, who often have little to no income, are finding it increasingly difficult to find student accommodation. On university accommodation sites, there are less than 1,000 student accommodation places available, not nearly enough for the number of students.

In Brussels, the lack of student accommodation has been particularly severe. At the end of April, the capital had a shortage of between 9,000-12,000 student rooms. Students of Brussels’ Dutch-speaking Free University of Brussels (VUB) have had a particularly hard time finding accommodation. Some 1,700 students are still on waiting lists to try and find a student room in the city.

With low supply and high energy costs, the cost has ultimately been passed on to the student. According to Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique, bills have risen from around €50 to €100 per month, which is ultimately paid by the student.

“With the energy crisis we are experiencing, the charges have skyrocketed and owners are still obliged to pass the costs on to the students. The rent has increased by 10%. For a basic kot, the student will have to pay €320-€330 per month,” says Sylvain Glorieux, housing department manager at Infor Jeunes.

The student advice service is offering young Belgians tips on how to land the best deal in what is otherwise an extremely difficult time to find accommodation. Infor Jeunes advises students not to rush after seeing a property only in photos. “It is essential to visit the house in order to see any defects or ask the owner questions,” the Infor Jeunes website states.

Related News

The Covid-19 pandemic significantly reduced demand for student accommodation from 2020-2021, but now it is climbing back up to pre-pandemic levels. Unfortunately, the number of properties available has also now dropped.

This issue is not exclusive to Belgium. Just across the border in the Netherlands, major universities have asked students to reconsider their choice of studies due to a lack of student accommodation.

In Dublin, Irish student unions state that students are dropping and deferring due to the lack of accommodation, with some queues for flat viewings growing to over 100 people. Unions are hanging out leaflets, calling for ordinary families to open up spare rooms for children, as the situation becomes increasingly desperate.

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