From the undersigned:
UCL has failed on the issue of rent, pushing prices far above even market rates year on year and resulting in the exclusion of a whole socio-economic class from studying at UCL. Last year the UCL Director of Estates claimed that “some people just simply cannot afford to study in London and that is just a fact of life” and that “we do not set out rents on the basis of the least well-off students”. Meanwhile, the average weekly rent in UCL halls of residence has increased 56% in 5 years (2010-2015), and the UK average has increased 18% in just 2 years. Last year, UCL calculated a £15.7 million profit margin. Increasing rents, the relentless rising of tuition fees and the ruthless cutting of grants and bursaries are all part of the ever greater privatisation of higher education. Rent strikes are a simple, but effective, way to disrupt the flow of capital to the university. Last year, almost 1000 UCL students went on rent strike. Through this tactic, the student body forced management into productive negotiation meetings, through which they received about £1 million in rent subsidies.
On this basis, UCL Cut the Rent is proposing that students temporarily withhold rent from UCL Estates, until the following demands are met:
1) Immediate and retroactive application of at least a 10% rent cut for all current residents in UCL accommodation.
2) An immediate announcement of 10% rent cut for the upcoming academic year.
3) Immediate publication of all Estates documents relating to the accommodation rent-setting process and full transparency in Estates finances.
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