Committee member, Jonie Goldenberg had the following thoughtful piece published in the Portsmouth News this month: "The Corporate Landlords do a hard sell - and I am not surprised at £200 per week per room for student accommodation equating to £10,200 per unit for the 51 weeks in the 256 unit high rise, earning in the region of £2,600,000 per annum for the company Prime Student Living. Multiply that by the number of new Halls that have been built. 'A nice little earner'. By a company who has not come up with the goods on time and sees fit to axe students' contracts without a thought of the associated problems faced by many first year students and their families. They will think twice about coming back to Portsmouth University. This is also not the first year this has happened."
The Corporate Landlords also open their doors to accommodate tourists over the summer recess adding to that 'nice little earner'.
These Halls are on Prime City land and any shops or businesses that relied on the spending power of the students outside of the central area will be feeling the pinch and these shops and businesses are owned by Portsmouth Residents, other than of course the Supermarkets.
What percentage of that rather large amount of rental money actually stays in Portsmouth and contributes to services and infrastructure provided by Portsmouth City Council? The services and infrastructure that we the residents pay for through our Council Tax.
I am aware that problems exist in the residential areas where students live - but - one has to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages. I noted the statistics quoted in a recent article in the News and it is a small percentage of complaints about students and rubbish overall than attributed to actual residents.
Portsmouth City Council's coffers should be brimming over with Business Rates or Council Tax attributed to the collection from the many Corporate Landlords they have let in and allowed to build on Prime City Land. My Council Tax bill has increased. Services that are essential to the residential community are being cut through lack of funding. So that tells me the Corporate Landlords are not contributing much or anything into the Council's coffers. Why not?
So we the residents are in effect actually supporting the Corporate Landlords.
The Halls of Residence are built as student accommodation. How does their planning change from halls of residence to hotel accommodation for them to be able to open their doors over the summer recess to provide hotel/tourist accommodation, thus stealing custom from local hotels, B&B's and residents who run small holiday come short term rental accommodation.
I live in a road with 40% students - yes it can be very noisy, rubbish and parking a bit of a problem, but I know that they are spending in the local shops thus supporting our local community and the houses they occupy are subject to stringent legislation so are well kept. The landlords use local services and labour for upkeep - unlike the Corporate Landlord - and of course the rentals the students pay in the houses are less than half they are being asked to pay the Corporate Landlord. So we are back to the beginning 'The Corporate Landlords do a hard sell' and it appears to be paying off for them.
We should all look closely at what we wish for.
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