NEWS

University Students Worst-Hit In Search to Find Rental Flats

A random survey by a Fiji Sun team found nine students living in a four-bedroom house in Vatuwaqa that has been set up to accommodate 19 people.
16 Jul 2019 15:00
University Students Worst-Hit In Search to Find Rental Flats
Many university students are flatting at homes along Rewa Street in Suva on July 15, 2019. Photo: Simione Haravanua

University students are among the worst hit as people try to find housing between Rewa Street and Raiwaqa to Vatuwaqa in Suva.

A random survey by a Fiji Sun team found nine students living in a four-bedroom house in Vatuwaqa that has been set up to accommodate 19 people.

“We chose to stay here despite the rent because it is closer to the University of the South Pacific (USP). This was a good alternative considering the location of the house and the lack of affordable renting options around here,” said one student who wished to remain anonymous for fear of being victimised.

He said they were paying a rent of $225 a month per bed instead of paying for the rooms.

“If all the beds are occupied there would be 19 tenants renting here,” she said.

“We share a small kitchen and a living space including three bathrooms. For now, the nine of us can cater for these facilities but if more tenants are to come in, the problem of rent would extend to over-crowding.”

A four-bedroom house in the area would usually cost around $1500-$2000 rent for a month. However, with 19 beds, the landlord in this case can earn a hefty $4275 per month.

Another student of the Fiji National University shared a similar experience.

The 23-year-old who also opted to remain anonymous said she shared a two-bedroom house with four other flatmates.

“The rental per month for this two-bedroom house is $1,350. This does not include bills,” she said.

“Despite the size of the flat and the rooms, we had to get five people to rent here as it would be cheaper for us considering how expensive the rent is nowadays.”

Raiwaqa is another high demand area especially for its proximity to USP’s Laucala campus.

A tenant, who is renting in Raiwaqa said her current accommodation which cost her about $180 per month was not worth the value.

There are three separate flats, one of which is occupied by the landlord. The other two are rented out to USP students. The top flat consists of two rooms which accommodates eight girls.

Combined the girls pay $1,440 per month for the two-bedroom flat.

“It’s not even a room, it’s a cubical,” the 22-year-old said.

“The flat downstairs where I stay is a bit smaller so only two of us occupy it.”

Edited by Nemani Delaibatiki

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