Creating a whole new housing sector – it’s an ambitious goal. And it’s what Student Co-op Homes is all about. Formed earlier this year by Co-operatives UK and students from a number of housing co-ops, it aims to provide affordable, good quality housing for students – putting the power to run their homes firmly in their hands.
Student Co-op Homes member Scott Jennings said: "It’s just accepted that student housing is poor and that we'll be ripped off by bad landlords. But there’s an alternative and it’s about us doing it for ourselves.”
And it can be a much cheaper alternative. Co-operatives UK’s Chief Operating Officer Neil Turton said: "In Edinburgh, private rents range from £600 to £1,000 per month but their student housing co-op charges £320 all-inclusive and is run not-for-profit."
This case study featured in the Co-op Economy 2018 report in a section dedicated to co-op housing. You can find the report here.
So Student Co-op Homes aims to build a portfolio of properties to lease to student housing co-ops who will manage, run and develop their homes. This model replicates the success of co-ops such as Edinburgh and the Birmingham Student Housing Co-op – formed in 2014 with investment from the Phone Co-op.
Neil added: "Replication is at the heart of Co-operative UK’s 20 year Development Strategy, so in replicating an existing co-op concept that works, we’re putting the strategy into practice."
The goal is to create 10,000 student beds in the UK over the next five years, with the formation of up to 50 student housing co-ops. Currently, work is underway to acquire properties and develop co-ops in Nottingham, Glasgow, Leeds and Norwich.
Neil said: "Co‑operatives UK is excited to be at the forefront of developing cheaper and better quality student housing across the UK. "We will drive the growth of student co‑op housing for the benefit of current university students, and for those in decades to come.”