Find a home when you’re a student is no picnic. People give conflicting advice. Some say you need to look early or all the best houses will go, while others will tell you that is intended to create a false panic. Universities might have a list of trusted landlords, but in practice demand for housing might by far outstrip what they can offer.
When you’re young and searching for a home, maybe for the first time, this can be very intimidating, and it’s hard to know what to do for the best. If you’re studying the in North, finding yourself moving out of University of Huddersfield accommodation and into a private house could feel more like a gamble than a proper choice.
One group of Cardiff students was so put off by the situation, they decided to something about it there and then. Jack Jenkins is the founder of a new Zoopla-style solution for students across the country.
He registered the name ‘University Cribs’ in the heat of his frustration as he and friends tried to find somewhere to live. He didn’t have a business plan yet, just an idea that things had to be better and the beginnings of a plan to get there.
Today University Cribs has launched: it’s been rolled out to more than 24 University towns across the country, and valued at £1.1 million. It links students with the landlords who let to them. More than Zoopla and the like, though, it offers interactivity, specific to the student housing situation. The University Cribs site offers advice and articles to help students navigate the housing market, and through their social media presence offer events to help students looking for groups to share a house with.
University Cribs is making waves by really serving the needs of students: it helps to inform them about the housing market and how to navigate it. It gives them the chance to meet other students in the same situation to pool resources and find places to live. University Cribs stops the endless trudge around different letting agents, looking at different houses, so students can group up and make a short list of houses to look at over an hour in a café, in the pub or in bed: wherever they have wi-fi.