Studio rooms in a six storey 133-unit “co-living” block that is currently being built on the Gladstone Road ambulance station site are being marketed to prospective tenants.
Rents for rooms described as “classic” start at £946pcm for a six month tenancy, while those described as “deluxe” cost from £1,008pcm and “premium” rooms cost from £1,106pcm.
Small discounts are available for those who agree to twelve or eighteen month contracts.
Tenancy eligibility criteria include an annual income of at least two and a half times the rent, or a guarantor willing to take responsibility for all a tenant’s liabilities.
This means that those wanting to rent the cheapest rooms in the block must earn at least £28,380pa while an income of £33,180 is required to apply for the most expensive.
Median annual earnings for Exeter residents in 2021, the most recent year for which figures are available, were £23,404.
Stagecoach is offering £12.76ph to new Exeter bus drivers, which the company says typically equates to around £26,000pa, a a figure which appears to include around £2,600 of overtime pay.
The starting salary for NHS nurses is £20,270 and the maximum maintenance loan for the living costs of full-time undergraduates is currently £9,706.
The scheme is supposed to offer 27 of its rooms at “affordable” rates, with priority given to applications from essential local workers, but it is not clear how this will work in practice and there is currently no way to apply for these rooms on the management firm’s website.
Were such rooms available, and priced at 80% of the published rates, the cheapest would still require applicants to earn at least £22,704pa.
A band three NHS nurse with at least three years experience earning £23,177 would be eligible for such a room, but they would have to spend nearly half their take home pay on rent.
This would leave them living far below the minimum income standard that Joseph Rowntree Foundation says provides an acceptable standard of living for a single adult of working age.
At the same time most of the rooms in the block, which are described as “spacious”, provide much less than the minimum 37 square metres of floor space specified in national standards for a one-bed one person dwelling.
The smallest rooms measure just 18 square metres, while the average size of the rooms across the first five storeys of the building is 20 square metres.
The larger rooms on the top floor average 26.5 square metres.
The sample tenancy agreement provided by the building’s management firm also appears to allow two people to rent each room.
The minimum floor space specified in national standards for a one-bed two person dwelling is 50 square metres.
There are no restrictions on students occupying the rooms.