Students Staff
University of Essex

February 6, 2017

Setting our rents at the right level

Ever wondered how the University sets the rents for its accommodation? Here, our Director of Campus Services and Estates, Chris Oldham, explains the process.

CO croppedAs a growing campus university, our accommodation plays a key role in student satisfaction. From location to facilities, flat mates to rents, when you sign up to live on campus – you want to be assured that your new home will provide everything you need.

Setting the right level of rent is a complex business that must take into account a number of different factors, which is why we consulted and carried out extensive research before increasing the rents for 2017-18.

Calculating the right rate

For the Meadows and Quays accommodation, owned and operated by ULiving, we calculate the rents annually using an inflationary based formula.

Uliving conduct a market review every five years, comparing our rent rates to those of the market.

For University owned accommodation, we aim to minimise our rent price increases to within predicted inflationary levels, in order to keep prices as low as possible for our students.

With the Towers accommodation, we have been able to retain some of the lowest priced accommodation in the sector.


In order to get a clear view of the prices being charged across the higher education sector, we benchmark our rents against our competitor institutions and also against the private sector  – where purpose built student accommodation is provided, for example at the Maltings, Avon Way and Forest Road. It is important for us to remain competitively priced; our rent prices remain consistently below the sector average.


We also know it’s important to consult with our Students’ Union as part of the rent setting process. We make sure the SU has a full picture of what we charge and why, and make sure they are comfortable with any rent increases we introduce.

Value for money

Making sure our students receive value for money is an important part of what we do. We have increased the funding made available for refurbishment and maintenance by 40%, in order to continually enhance our accommodation. We also work hard to increase our efficiency, with the aim of minimising rent costs for our students, whilst enhancing the services we offer.

Rent increases for 2017-18 academic year

University Steering Group (USG) has now approved rent increases of between 1.70% and 4.48% for the academic year 2017-18.

These rates have been published on our accommodation website.

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