International Students Tell of Housing Struggles
Written by Winner Ogoke on 23rd November 2022
International students have spoken of their struggles securing accommodation in Sunderland.
The housing crisis in the UK is affecting residents of the North East, particularly international students at the University of Sunderland.
Some have complained of fewer chances of securing accommodation – and of the challenges they face to get somewhere to live.
Boliuma Olusayero, a student of tourism and events who lives in Newcastle, said: “It is not easy to get accommodation in Sunderland because of the requirements.
“Expecting us to have a UK guarantor when we have just arrived in the UK is a little unreasonable.”
Most private landlords insist on a guarantor, the students say – and the university’s own accommodation is already full.
Boliuma, 42, said she was lucky to live with a relative for weeks before she finally got a house.
“I would advise students coming in with their family to come in alone first, get settled, and then bring them over because it is frustrating to be stranded with an entire family,” she said.
Alloysius Oguchi, 47, said that although he is a mature student, getting a new place took him around four months.
“The biggest problem I had was getting a guarantor and even when I eventually found one, it took forever to process.”
Mr Oguchi said it would be better to make housing requirements more flexible for international students.
Franklin Ilechukwu, whose wife studies at the University of Sunderland, said they had to stay at a hotel for two weeks before getting a manageable place.
“We kept most of our belongings in the Minister church because there was no space in the hotel room.
“Imagine buying food twice a day for two weeks for a family of five because there was no provision to cook,” he said.
The 31-year-old said the worst part was getting a guarantor, which was not easy. He eventually got one through a family member in the UK.
Project management student, Sanjay Dhan, said he had to live with four other people for a month until he finally saw a place – and that was overpriced.
“I had no choice but to pay £450 without bills. This means I will be paying over £650 with the energy price rise,” he said.
The 26-year-old described accommodation in Sunderland as a “bad dream”.