Pioneering idea to improve Sheffield’s student housing stock

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Two Sheffield friends are going into the property game - with the aim of providing perfect student digs.

University of Sheffield students Jamie Risner, 22, and Rosie Evered, 25, hope to set up one of the UK’s first student housing co-operatives.

The co-op will be fully owned and run by students, with the objective of providing cheaper and better accommodation than private landlords.

The pair are putting together grant funding of around £50,000 - including £10,000 of their own savings - to buy their first property in Upperthorpe.

The house will provide homes for seven students with two retail units below, and the target is to have it up and running by September 2014.

Co-ops are common in the USA and similar ventures are on the way in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Brighton and London - but the Sheffield project is one of the most advanced.

“Getting the deposit together for our first property has been the hardest thing, but we’ve approached charities, the student union and university alumni and now things are moving,” said Jamie.

Rosie, who is taking a masters in architecture, has done academic work on co-ops and is keen to put the theory into practice.

“We want to charge rents on average £5 a week cheaper than commercial ones - but longer term they could be much cheaper than that,” Jamie said. “We think a co-op is needed because a lot of student houses are really poorly maintained - damp and mouldy and rarely improved.”