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UCL announces 2.5% rent reduction for 2016/17

23 March 2016

UCL has today announced that it will reduce the contract length for its rooms across its owned student accommodation from 40 to 39 weeks a year, effectively reducing the annual rent payable by 2.5%. This decision has been taken to align the start of the academic year with arrival of students into halls. 

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The change will take effect from the academic year 2016/17, and comes in addition to the rent reduction and freeze on over 30% of UCL’s owned accommodation, announced on 4th March for 2016/17.

UCL has also published a ten-year cost assessment of its halls of residence, which indicates that between 2009/10 and 2018/19,  the university is projected to make an overall loss of £9.7m on its accommodation budget. The schedule sets out income generated through rents against spending on running costs, refurbishment, and the acquisition of new residences. The figures vary from year to year, reflecting fluctuations in the level of capital expenditure on large projects undertaken by UCL, and do not include provision planned at UCL East to meet demand from students who will be studying at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park campus from 2019/20.

In addition, UCL is publishing FAQs to answer questions that include why rents are set at the level they are at, what UCL is doing to keep rents as low as possible, and clarifying the rate at which rents have increased since 2009/2010.

Rex Knight, UCL Vice-Provost Operations, said: “UCL aims to attract the best students nationally and internationally to study with us. We appreciate that there is a big issue around affordability of accommodation in London, and we have made a further announcement today to help our students afford the cost of living in the capital.

“In order to support students in making the transition to university, we offer accommodation to all first year undergraduates, and students moving to the UK for the first time. We do not make a profit from our accommodation, and that is reflected in the fact that our charges are lower than those for the equivalent accommodation in the private sector. In common with other universities, however, we do not think it is right to cross-subsidise accommodation from tuition fees, so our halls of residence have to broadly cover their costs, including the cost of long-term investment in refurbishment and the construction of new accommodation to meet increasing demand. We also seek to maintain a broad range of types and prices of accommodation.

“We have been asked to make our assessment available more widely, which is why we are publishing it today. I believe that this, along with the FAQs, sets out clearly how UCL, a not for profit organisation, is using any surplus it generates from rent to reinvest in accommodation.”

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