Last summer, the UT had to cope with a large influx of new students, which caused problems on the housing market. ‘Normally we have a peak around the summer, but this year the peak was higher,’ says Nico-Tom Pen, portfolio manager of real estate. There were three main causes for this, he explains. ‘Of course we had some growth again, a tendency we’ve had for a few years. But this normal growth was exacerbated by the COVID crisis, since those that would otherwise have chosen to come last year were delayed, and by more students from the EU, partly due to Brexit.’
Finally, with this already large group of prospective students, the problem was made worse because many renters stayed in student houses due to COVID and difficulties in finding affordable housing, Pen explains. ‘In light of this, it’s not hard to see why there was a problem with housing last year.’
Pen is less worried about the coming summer. ‘You never know exactly what will happen of course, but in consultation with housing corporation De Veste, the expectations are better than last year. This of course doesn’t mean there won’t be any problems, but at least we expect less. We have started to inform prospective students about possible difficulties at a very early stage, and that it is wise to start searching early. This early information is part of regular information for study seekers during online open days.’
In addition, Pen confirms that there are plans to build new long-term housing ‘but that doesn’t happen tomorrow’. ‘There are building plans on campus, but they won’t be done next year. In addition to this two hundred houses are being added in Kennispark. Furthermore, other parties are of course developing things in the city, but we don’t know all their plans. In the meantime the flex houses at the Witbreuksweg can do something to help mitigate future problems, since they can be used for a maximum of 10 years.’
The problems on the housing market usually occur around the beginning of the new academic year. For UT students most rooms can be found on the Roomspot portal or via the commercial housing platform Kamernet.