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How Nigerian Students Face Housing Crisis in UK

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Nigerian students pursuing higher education in the UK face a housing crisis that affects their academic and personal lives. The crisis is caused by a combination of factors, such as:

  • There is a shortage of affordable rental properties in the UK, especially in London, where demand exceeds supply. According to a real estate agency, Foxtons, 97,000 tenants competed for 2,000 available properties in April 2023.
  • An increase in mortgage rates by the Bank of England discourages landlords from building more houses and makes buy-to-let investments less attractive. According to a property consultant, Daniel Ford International, the mortgage rates have risen from 0.25% to 5.25% in the last six to 12 months.
  • There is a lack of regulation and protection for renters in the UK, compared to other countries such as Denmark, France, Germany, and Sweden, where renters have more rights and security. For example, in Denmark, renters can stay in their homes indefinitely, while in France, landlords cannot evict tenants in winter months.
  • Difficulty in meeting the rental requirements for new immigrants, such as Nigerian students, who need to provide proof of income, guarantors, references, and deposits. Chioma Amarachi, a Nigerian student in London, said: “When you are new in the country, it’s a tug of war because meeting the requirements is very hard.”

The housing crisis seriously affects Nigerian students, who may face stress, insecurity, homelessness, and poor living conditions. Some students may have to live far from their campuses or share overcrowded rooms with strangers. Others may have to spend much of their income or savings on rent or resort to illegal subletting or squatting.

The UK government has proposed a Renter’s Reform Bill that aims to improve the situation for renters by abolishing no-fault evictions, introducing lifetime deposits, and strengthening enforcement of standards. However, the bill has not been passed yet, and its impact is uncertain. Meanwhile, housing charities and campaigners call for more urgent action to address the crisis.

Some possible solutions include building more social and affordable housing, increasing the supply of rental properties through incentives or regulations, capping or reducing rents, and improving the welfare system for low-income renters. Additionally, Nigerian students can seek support from their universities, student unions, or organizations that offer advice and assistance on housing issues.

Despite their challenges, many Nigerian students remain optimistic and determined to pursue their academic goals and dreams in the UK. They also hope their situation will improve as they adapt to their new environment and find better opportunities.

Source: BusinessDay NG

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