NATION

Concerns Over Rent Issue

A University of the South Pacific student told the Fiji Sun that she was renting a room in Nabua for $400 a month with her husband, who is also a student
16 Sep 2019 15:41
Concerns Over Rent Issue
Many houses built in informal settlements around the Suva City are on rent. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Some university students and workers in Suva have raised concern on various issues regarding their accommodation.

Concerns vary from exorbitant rent to sharing of facilities to overcrowded rooms, which is a health concern.

A University of the South Pacific student who did not want to be identified told the Fiji Sun that she was renting a room in Nabua, Suva, for $400 a month with her husband, who is also a student.

They live in one of the three rooms in the house, with the other two also being rented by university students.

“We paid $400 bond and are paying $400 rent every month. We had no choice because it was the cheapest place we could find near the university,” said the student.

“We checked around in other places closer to the university and some landlords were giving a room only for $600 a month.

“There are two students staying in each of the other two rooms in the flat which we are staying in. I pay my rent from the allowance I get every six months.”

She said there were six people staying in the three-bedroom flat and they shared the same toilet, bathroom and kitchen.

“The electricity and water bills are divided by three even though we may be using less, but there’s nothing much that we can do,” she said.

A female worker who lives in a girls’ hostel off Grantham Road in Suva also raised concern on living conditions.

“I live in a seven-bedroom house and there are four of us living in one room. We pay $190 each as rent every month,” she said.

“With four people in each room, there is definitely the issue of overcrowding and it’s a health issue too.

“There are two toilets and two bathrooms in the house for us to use, but we share the same kitchen for cooking,” she said.

The Real Estate Agents Licensing Board is calling for a survey on the condition of houses being put on rent. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The Real Estate Agents Licensing Board is calling for a survey on the condition of houses being put on rent. Photo: Ronald Kumar

REALB Chair

Real Estate Agents Licensing Board chairman, Dr Abdul Hassan said all stakeholders should carry out a survey to find out the condition of houses in which students studying at universities in Suva live in.

“In the past 20 years, there is no development of properties in the USP area that can cater for low-income earners, including students,” he said.

“The houses there are meant for those in the high-income bracket and some people have extended their houses and given them for rent to university students.

“The students want to stay close to the university so that they can just walk there as it makes things easier for them.”

Mr Hassan said he was aware that some students were living in crowded rooms near the university area.

“We are also aware that a university lecturer has a house near the university, which is something like a hostel that he is renting out to female students only.

“We have asked the Consumer Council to do a survey. In fact, all stakeholders should do a survey to see the condition of houses in which students live and other things.

“Housing is a big problem for students too as not everyone can afford to stay on campus. This results in a lot of social problems too.

“Students don’t get the opportunity to study well because of the crowded environment and there are other things too such as health issues.”

Mr Hassan also said that all stakeholders need to work together to find a concrete solution to the housing problem instead of working on a piecemeal basis.

He said there was a need for stakeholders to look and work in one direction to solve the housing problem, because everyone needed shelter.

Edited by Susana Tuilau

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