We asked our investment consultant, Krishan Patel, what his old student digs were like.
“I wouldn’t even take my mum to see the property I was living in.” This sad, poignant and okay, yes….amusing statement was made by our Investment Consultant Krishan Patel, when asked to describe his old student digs.
Krishan is now actively involved in selling state-of-the-art luxury student apartments so we thought it would be interesting to ask him what student accommodation was like back when he was a student. The picture he paints is not a pretty one. Here’s what Krishan had to say:
“I attended Leeds Beckett University from 2009 to 2012 and I have to say that the living arrangements haunt me to this day! The first year wasn’t too bad because, along with other new students, you are placed in Halls of Residence. These are pretty basic but at least they were clean. There were five en-suite bedrooms and a shared kitchen to a block and whilst it can hardly be described as comfortable, it was at least functional and, being fairly low maintenance, I adapted to it. One of the downsides is that it took at least half an hour from the halls to get to the university so that was a bit of a bind, but you put up with it don’t you?
Fast forward to 12 months later and then you’ve got a whole new bunch of students coming in who get first dibs on the Halls of Residence so it was time to seek pastures new. Obviously, during your university life, you form attachments and make friendships and so six of us, all lads, started to look for a suitable HMO to accommodate us. That six soon grew to eight and, before you knew it, there was ten of us trying to find somewhere to live!
Eventually, after a lot of house-hunting and turning down some less than salubrious hell-holes, we came across a 10-bedroom property that didn’t make our skin crawl. This doesn’t mean that it was in any way comfortable. Far from it. It was however habitable….just. We’re talking only two bathrooms to ten bedrooms here so imagine what that was like for ten lads, especially after a night on the ale. In fact, it’s the smell and mess of the place that I remember most.
It’s not that we were ten lads who were always partying. In fact, we were all pretty good at managing the balance between socialising and studying but the circumstances of living in a HMO is that they are just not that conducive to studying. We would normally have to stow ourselves away in a library or something when we needed to knuckle down.
From a location point of view, it was marginally better than the halls, being about 20 minutes from the university, but that’s probably the most positive thing that I can say about it. Being the attentive person she is, my mum wanted to see where I was living but to be honest, I was so ashamed of the place that I wouldn’t take her to see it. Many of my student friends felt exactly the same way.
To bring this tale up to date, working for Barrows & Forrester has been a real eye-opener for me. Purpose-built student accommodation didn’t exist back in 2009 but I wish to God it did. Looking at the quality of the apartments available to students today makes me more than a bit envious and it’s very easy for me to point out the plethora of benefits to potential investors.
PBSA has only been around for the last 3 to 4 years and it has revolutionized the student accommodation market as well as upsetting a lot of HMO Landlords who now have some high quality competition to deal with.
For me, organizing PBSA is a no-brainer if you have kids going to university. Everything is aligned to the needs of the student, the environment is conducive to learning, and, best of all, you’re not trying to share everything with 10 other people. I’d be happy to show my mum one of these properties. In fact, I’s be happy to live in one now!”