The “deplorable” state of student housing in Bath is leaving almost half of the city’s students feeling anxious or depressed, student leaders have warned the local council.

Students make up a third of the city’s population but many renting shared houses in the city are living in “simply unacceptable” conditions, representatives of Bath’s two universities warned councillors at a full meeting of Bath and North East Somerset Council on Thursday November 30.

Bath Spa Students’ Union President, Jas Raymond-Barker, told councillors that over two-thirds of students were living in houses where mould has become a “persistent” problem, often due to “poor ventilation, leaks, and inadequate maintenance.” A third of students reported that their surroundings were making health conditions worse.

She said: “Students brave the elements in poorly insulated dwellings, facing cold winters and sweltering summers. These issues do not only affect the physical health of students but also their mental health.

“56% of students have reported being miserable and 46% of them reported feeling depressed or anxious due to their housing conditions. This creates an environment that is far from conducive to learning.”

Community officer at Bath University Students’ Union, Hanna Hajzer, slammed the condition of student housing as “deplorable.” She said: “The unresponsiveness of landlords to the grievances of their tenants is deeply troubling. The lack of accountability leaves students feeling powerless and neglected as their legitimate concerns about living conditions fall on deaf ears.

“They often feel as if they have no say or leverage when it comes to their own housing situation, a service they are paying an exorbitant amount of money for. They deserve a higher standard of care from those who profit from providing essential housing services to our students.”

Both universities provide services to help students with issues with their landlords, but Ms Raymond-Barker warned they often went unused as students do not think they will achieve anything.

Council leader Kevin Guy asked Ms Raymond-Barker and Ms Hajzer to meet with the council’s cabinet member for housing. He said: “The issues you have raised are very serious.”

LDRS, John Wimperis