Mary Kelly Foy MP has chaired the first Durham Student Housing Forum. The Group hosted at Durham University together over 30 organisations including Durham University, Durham County Council, landlords and letting agents to create the first forum to resolve these issues locally. (Read More; Durham University: Code of practice plan to fix ‘broken’ student housing – BBC News)
The group has been convened by Mary in response to disgraceful scenes of students queuing up overnight to secure housing which was too often in a poor condition and unaffordable (Durham University students queue overnight to secure accommodation – BBC News). There has also been a spike in Durham residents being evicted in the private rental sector so housing can be converted into expensive student lets.
The goal is for landlords and letting agents to sign a joint code of practice to enforce higher standards. The university has confirmed its student population will reduce by 1,000 students next year, easing the demand for housing.
Commenting on the inaugural meeting, Mary said:
“This meeting was a welcome first step towards improving the student rental market in Durham.
“In recent times there has been growing evidence that the current housing system is not working for students or residents. As the elected representative of everyone in our city, it has been heartening to see the University, County Council and other vitally important stakeholders proactively engage with this new process. “I hope this forum will continue as a means to open, frank and constructive discussion of these important issues and that practical resolutions can be agreed together in the near future.”