A shortfall in private accommodation beds provided for students at Durham University could go into the thousands, a survey has claimed.

For the past several weeks, pictures showing large queues outside letting agents for private student flats have emerged across social media.

It comes as students claim there simply are not enough beds provided for the number of those studying in Durham City.

And now, a survey has suggested that there could potentially be a deficit of more than 3,400 private student beds in the city for the 2023-24 academic year.

The Northern Echo, however, understands that this figure may not include beds already provided by Durham University. 

StuRents, a student accommodation listing site, has since claimed "the issue is unlikely to materially improve in the years ahead". 

The Northern Echo: Picture: PalTVPicture: PalTV (Image: PalTV)

They have forecasted the deficit of private student beds based on estimates for the number of House of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) listed on their website.

They estimate the number of beds needed at 21,317.

StuRents estimates this using data showing the number of beds available at Purpose Built Student Accommodation - and demand from students who are not living at home. 

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It comes as StuRents statistics on rent show a year-on-year average rent increase of 19 per cent - which could see average weekly prices for rooms increase from the £50- £190 range to between £85 and £245. 

They estimate increases in rent prices for HMOs in the Durham area, and have suggested that the average rent price increases by approximately 19 per cent year-on-year. 

Reacting, Mary Kelly Foy, MP for Durham, said: "This rent price data supports what a huge number of students have told me.

"Student rents are spiralling at an eyewatering pace. Landlords are demanding rises well above inflation - and the vast majority of students, particularly those from working-class backgrounds simply cannot afford this. 

"I have written to major student letting agents in Durham alongside the Students' Union to ask that they provide us with a clearer picture of why this is happening."

"I do fear this is private profiteering from landlords. It is unacceptable that at a time of a generational cost of living crisis and probable recession, students are being used as cash cows."

The Northern Echo: StuRents' calculations show an upward shift in rent prices for HMOs in Durham. Picture: StuRents. StuRents' calculations show an upward shift in rent prices for HMOs in Durham. Picture: StuRents. (Image: StuRents)

Read more: Durham University students and staff protest for better housing

Speaking about the overnight queue to get into student letting agents, one student told PalTV: "There was a big dip in mood when the prices were released, and lots of people left the queue, as they have just done 'we can't afford to live here'." 

In a statement on their site, Durham University said: "We maintain a regular dialogue with our student leaders, including Durham Students’ Union representatives and Common Room Presidents, through which we capture their concerns and expectations. We work together with them on solutions.

“Working with Durham Students’ Union, we have invested significantly in extra measures to support students who are under financial pressure.  These include increases in our Durham Grant Scheme and our Student Support Fund.

“We have also established a housing group, chaired by our Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Colleges and Student Experience, which will include our student leaders. This will ensure that we plan early and carefully for next academic year while continuing to address the current issues related to student housing."

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