Students struggle to find in homes in Chichester

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STUDENTS are struggling to find places to live in the city just days before they are to start the new term.

Although university students have had months to find accommodation before starting in the coming weeks, there simply are no lets available in the area. And when properties do come up they are snapped up within minutes.

Estate agents and the University of Chichester have said there is a real need for private landlords to come forward to fill the void.

Lettings manager at Cubitt and West, Lucy Hoskins said: “We have had to turn so many students away. A lot of agencies just aren’t speaking to them, they come through the door and you see they are a bit desperate and fed up.

“It isn’t helping that there aren’t a lot of houses around. I can’t see what’s going to happen.”

There has been talk that an increase in student numbers rushing to avoid the increase in student fees next year could be to blame, but the university’s numbers have been capped.

Partner at PMS Lettings in West Street, James Banks, said: “If you want to buy a student property now is the time.

“We don’t need to take a list of students needing accommodation, because if you put something on the website it’s gone within five or ten minutes.

“We are taking 15 to 20 calls a day from students and their parents.”

Third year student Liam Wheatley is one of the lucky ones having found a house last week ahead of starting on Monday.

The 21-year-old said: “Luckily in the last couple of days I have been offered a house with one of my friends, that’s only because someone dropped out.

“All of the properties seem to disappear very quickly.

“You have got people begging for a room on the message boards, there are hundreds.

“There are an awful lot of people in my situation.”

A spokesman at the University of Chichester said: “All of the accredited student accommodation places are placed on the studentpad portal, an online database of all properties available near our Chichester and Bognor Regis campuses that is updated as soon as new places become available.

“The current accommodation shortage provides a great opportunity for private landlords”.