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Already overstretched student finances will be pushed even further by the decision to raise rents for campus accommodation yet again. The University called for a £3 increase in weekly rent for the year 08/09, but were pulled down to a real terms increase of £1.05 per week. The total rent for a year living in a typical en-suite room on a 40 week let now stands at £3,640, or £91 per week.
The rent increase was reduced to £1.05 per week as a result of negotiations with the Students Union. LUSU also won an important victory for students by successfully negotiating a freeze on rent deposits for 08/09.
LUSU President, Michael Payne said: “After a rise in utility bills the University decided they would introduce a £3 rent increase per student, per week for next year. LUSU agreed that utility costs and energy savings were a serious issue across the entire campus, not just in student residences. However a £3 increase was totally unacceptable; after negotiation and discussion LUSU managed to reduce the increase to £1.05.
“The solution to this problem is long-term realistic strategy on energy savings, which involve discussions with the Students’ Union, not just hitting the students in their pockets – budgeting for students is already very difficult.”
The cheapest accommodation on campus is now a standard room in Pendle or Grizedale, at £68.95 per week. Only five years ago, Pendle College’s standard rooms were the most expensive out of all the undergraduate colleges, before Lonsdale and Cartmel moved to their new Alexandra Park residences, which began the University’s trend of replacing all standard accomodation on campus with more expensive en-suite residences, completely detached from academic departments.
The rent on a campus en-suite room is now the same as the rent on a self contained studio apartment in CityBlock in Lancaster. Soaring rents on campus partly explain the rising popularity of private student flats in town, such as CityBlock and Cable Street. The student flats at Cable Street, run by property developers LPN, are already 65% reserved for 09/10.