Record-long waiting lists for accommodation

At the Foundation for Student Life in Oslo (SiO), there were only 70 out of 6019 student flats available by the start of this week.

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– It is terrible. The current situation is on the verge of being labelled an accommodation crisis, leader of the Velferdsting (a central body safeguarding the welfare of students) Øyvind Gjengaar says.

As of 23 January, SiO could only offer 70 flats to students, most of which were older flats at Kringsjå Student Village. If you do not want to stay there, you will have to expect between two and four months of waiting. For an apartment, the wait is up to 12 months.

Longer than normal

Waiting lists at SiO are long. Until March, there are 81 applicants in line to get a flat. 40 applicants who wish to move into a family apartment, will have to seek shelter elsewhere.

– Waiting lists are longer than they normally are in January, marketing executive of Student Housing Guri Bergo says.

While 70 out of 6019 student flats are available in January this year, there were 538 flats available during the spring of 2004 in comparison, and 249 was the corresponding number for 2005.

Refurbishment result in waiting lists

International students at UiO are among the reasons behind the long waiting lists. They are guaranteed a place to stay when they get to Oslo, and most of them choose to live cheap at Sogn or Kringsjå.

– Students from the Norwegian School of Management (BI), who are now members of SiO, have made an impact as well, Bergo says and adds that two student houses are currently being refurbished at Kringsjå. As a result, there are fewer flats available than normal.

This week, it was also decided that the 500 students from Oslo National Academy of the Arts are to be included in SiO. Silje Winther, leader of the General Board of SiO, is convinced that this will not compromise the welfare of the 40,000 students who are already under SiO’s wings.

– They make up such a modest crowd so there is no call for the same debates we had when BI applied for membership, she says.

Future housing?

SiO aims at a 20 per cent coverage of students with regards to housing. The coverage measured 18.2 per cent right before Christmas.

– Bringing the finished student flats in Pilestredet Park and the construction plans at Vestgrensa into the equation, the aspired 20 per cent may be close at hand, Gjengaar thinks.

However, according to the real estate executive of SiO, Kjetil Sand, it has not yet been decided whether the construction in Pilestredet Park will receive government funding.

– Besides, the construction at Vestgrensa will probably take its time. As of today, we do not have the money to finance the project, and we lack the proper building authorization, Sand says.

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