Amid the recent HMO bill passed in October of last year, The Galleon spoke to sabbatical officer Vice President for Welfare and Community, Perry Taylor, to hear from him as a student representative.
The bill which has been passed means that just 10 per cent of housing can be of multiple occupancy in a 50ft area with the belief that there is damage to overall community with large student housing areas. This will also potentially see an extra licensing fee for landlords which Taylor believes “may be passed onto students”.
When asked about the action that the Union is taking, Perry strongly pointed out that there is an ongoing consultation period which was followed by a student meeting which took place on 13th December, giving students that chance to discuss housing opinions.
A referendum took place on the issue with Perry saying that: “We need 1000 votes for this to be valid which will be a strong backing to have an influence on what’s going on.”
The referendum didn’t reach the required 1000 votes, however it was a unanimous no, with 240 no votes, 40 yes votes and 6 spoilt ballots. Perry Taylor presented the results to Portsmouth City Council on Monday 14th January, showing that University of Portsmouth students do not support their proposal.
With the Blade Building being potentially scrapped, there are also fears that less housing will be available to first year students.
Currently students are not guaranteed a first year place in halls, even if it is their first university choice, due to the lack of available space. This can not only impact on a student financially, but also socially with more student housing needing to become available away from the campus.
“There were 500 less university students this year so it may balance out but only time will tell.”
Perry added: “The University is still looking to provide more housing, possibly turning Mercantile building into halls, but this takes time.”
The Galleon previously reported on the passed bill on 16th October during a discussion at The Guildhall where there were no Students’ Union representatives present.
When asked on why the Union had not taken action on the issues that had arisen when the bill was passed, Perry was not able to comment.
There have been several complaints and issues with student housing, with The Galleon previously raising student complaints.
On the overriding issues that can arise from student housing, Perry added: “I have a direct link with the local council for housing standards.”