NEWS PLANNING & PLACE

First Exeter 'co-living' rooms advertised to let from £1,045-£1,360 per month plus council tax

£40,800 minimum salary to rent 26.5 square metre room in six storey 133-unit block, promoted as two minutes' walk from university St Luke's campus, requiring tenants among top 20% of Exeter earners – or with wealthy guarantors.

Co-living Student accommodation Housing crisis Exeter local plan

Exeter’s first “co-living” rooms are being advertised to let at The Gorge, a six storey 133-unit block nearing completion on Gladstone Road, at rents ranging from £1,045 to £1,360 per month.

The rents exclude council tax, which is expected to add £120 per month to their cost.

Tenant eligibility criteria for the rooms, which range in size from 18 to 26.5 square metres with a shower, toilet and galley kitchen, include an annual income of at least two and half times the rent.

This means those wanting to rent the smallest advertised rooms in the block must earn at least £31,350 per annum while an annual income of £40,800 is required to rent the largest.

The Gorge classic studio room floorplan 18 square metre “classic” studio room at The Gorge providing less than half the floor area required by national space standards for a one-bed one person dwelling

Median annual earnings for Exeter residents in 2022, the most recent year for which figures are available, were £26,324.

Only those earning among the top 20% of Exeter salaries are eligible for the block’s largest rooms – unless they can provide a guarantor who meets the earnings threshold.

Stagecoach is currently offering £14.34 per hour to qualified bus drivers with PCV licenses in Exeter. The company says this equates to £28,384 annual earnings with overtime.

The starting salary for NHS nurses is £22,383. Their pay does not meet the minimum income requirement for the cheapest advertised rooms at The Gorge until they reach band five with at least four years’ experience.

The maximum maintenance loan for the living costs of full-time undergraduates is £9,978.

The Gorge being rushed towards completion The Gorge being rushed towards completion before the university term begins

The Gorge is required to offer 27 of its rooms at “affordable” rents to essential local workers. The city council sets these rents at 80% of market rates.

Prospective applicants for these rooms are invited to apply for details: their rents have not been published.

Priced at 80% of the lowest published room rates, the cheapest would still require applicants to earn at least £25,080 per annum.

A band four NHS nurse earning £25,147 would be eligible for such a room, but they would have to spend nearly half their take home pay on rent if they became a tenant.

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.

There are no restrictions on student tenancies at the development, which is promoted as being just two minutes’ walk from the University of Exeter St Luke’s campus.



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