In a climate where “rip-off” student housing is sparking rent strikes, and students grapple with rising tuition fees and student debt, Student Co-op Homes has launched to offer alternative, cheaper student housing in towns and cities across the UK – housing that is owned and run by students.
The current student housing market is broken. For too long the private rental sector has got away with steadily increasing rents for poorer quality student housing.
Recent research published by NUS1 states 62% of students use loans to help pay rent and only half think their accommodation is value for money.
Student Co‑op Homes:
- Aims to increase the national capacity of student housing co‑ops from 150 to 10,000 beds within the next five years – equating to one third of the current market share of iQ2, the largest private student housing provider in the UK.
- Will own the property portfolio of all student housing co-ops and lease them to back to local student groups. This will aid stability and sustainability and overcome the need for short-term tenancies for students.
The idea follows a similar model that has been working in the United States for decades through the North American Students of Co-operation (NASCO), which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
Who is involved with Student Co-op Homes
- Co-operatives UK: Co‑operatives UK is supporting the establishment of Student Co-op Homes. It is a key aspect of the National Co‑op Development Strategy, launched in 2017, which sees ‘replication’ as a significant development opportunity for the co‑op sector. Co-operatives UK has also given deveopment support to SCH and prospective housing co-ops through The Hive, the business support for co-ops in partnership with The Co-operative Bank.
- Students for Co-operation: Was established to help develop and support student co‑operatives across the UK. It is democratically controlled and owned by its constituent co‑ops and works to create new groups by providing training, workshops and support. It aims to create a dedicated network of co‑operatives across the UK providing students with affordable, democratically controlled and member owned services.
- The Phone Co-op: Were integral to enabling the establishment of Birmingham Student Housing Co-operative in 2014 – the UK's first student housing co-operative. The Phone Co-op bought the property and currently lease it back to the members of BSHC. They have also been part of the working group developing plans for and establishing Student Co-op Homes.
- Student housing co-operatives and groups in the following university towns and cities:
- Birmingham Student Housing Co-operative (established since 2014)
- Edinburgh Student Housing Co-operative (established since 2014)
- Sheffield Student Housing Co-operative (established since 2015)
- Glasgow Student Housing Co-operative
- Leeds Student Housing Co-operative
- Norwich Student Housing Co-operative
- Nottingham Student Housing Co-operative