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Stirling students struggle to find housing for upcoming semester

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Students at the University of Stirling have reported a lack of private rental properties in the city centre, with many students on the hunt for accommodation all summer to no avail. 

As the university returns to on-campus learning this semester, many students have flocked back to Stirling for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in students battling for flats in a very sparse and competitive private rental market. 

The housing pool in Stirling has been further narrowed by the fact that most of the flats left on the market are either unfurnished or specifically request ‘non-student’ tenants. 

Heather Mackenzie, a second-year Primary Education student at the university, has been looking for accommodation since April. Despite reaching out to several letting agents and landlords, she remains without a place to stay for the upcoming semester.

Heather told Brig: “If I don’t find somewhere suitable in time, I will be forced to apply for a leave of absence which would absolutely devastate me.

“Off the top of my head, I can think of 17 letting agents that I have been in regular contact with. I have also spoken to several landlords individually, as well as over 20 tenants looking to find a flatmate. 

“I check relevant websites like Rightmove and Spareroom constantly and almost always get in touch within less than an hour of listings being posted.” 

Despite her efforts, Heather told Brig that flats are snapped up almost immediately – leaving her back at square one. 

The uncertainty of not knowing where she will stay during her studies has begun to take its toll on her: “The stress has really been getting to me and my family.”

“It’s a lot to try and get back into the right mindset and routine for university after having so much time off, so the additional stress of not being able to find a roof over your head can make it pretty overwhelming.” 

Jess Reid (Vice President Communities) and Dante Lopez (Housing Officer) from the Stirling Students’ Union are aware of the sparse private rental market in Stirling and are putting measures in place to support students. 

They told Brig: “[The Union] will be meeting with the Stirling Council Environment and Housing Committee in the next week to discuss HMOs and student housing. 

“Additionally, this month, we will be launching the Housing Forum as a means of having student voices represented in all areas of the discussion including students in private accommodation.” 

Featured Image Credit: Zoopla

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