Students of Swansea University: quell the naïve sense of standards and scramble through a crowd of your course mates to half a dozen viewings in a day – for off-campus student housing is a rare, yet valuable commodity. So goes the myth. Student housing is notoriously overpriced, poorly maintained and decrepit.
The main contributor to this in Swansea is the entirely false belief that housing is limited. Welfare Officer Lloyd Harris tells us that “there is a surplus of student housing in Swansea”.
The myth of limited housing helps to create a scarcity mind-set whereby we make quick decisions based on an inflated internal valuation.
This is the same reason why people are prone to jostle and jolt in a Black Friday standoff for an item that they hadn’t particularly wanted before others began to deplete its stock in a one-day only sale. Rushing to secure housing early is not necessarily in the interest of all students as it shifts the balance of power to landlords and letting agencies who can maintain the status quo by pointing out all the early reservations, thereby perpetuating the myth of limited housing.
Improving the standards of housing is of course the duty of the landlords and property managers, but ensuring that that we cannot be forced into a choice between a series of substandard properties is also a collective responsibility of students.
Rather than viewing houses earlier and earlier each year to secure accommodation, we should shop around well into this semester to let landlords know that won’t compromise on standards because we don’t have to.