Students struggling as Tartu rents rise

The city of Tartu.
The city of Tartu. Source: Ragnar Vutt.

Students are facing difficulties finding accommodation in Tartu as prices have risen considerably since the start of the year and student dormitories have also increased their fees.

One factor is high demand, real estate agents told "Aktuaalne kaamera's" Tartu correspondent. Last year, there were three times as many properties on the rental market.

"The [average] increase in rental prices is about 10 percent, 1Partner's data shows it is 15 to 20 percent," said Margus Kelk, head of 1Partner's brokerage service.

Kelk said an apartment rented for €450 last year will now be advertised for €580.

Students have been left stunned by the rising prices and many are now priced out of the private rental market.

"Although I only need a rental apartment for the autumn [semester], I started searching a month ago. I'm not doing very well right now. I'm looking for both one-room and two-room apartments. The prices are not affordable for students, I would say," Gretel Juhansoo, a student at the University of Tartu, told the program.

The cheapest option for students is to live in a university dormitory but, due to rising energy bills, fees have also increased. Accommodation management company Üliõpilasküla has put prices up by 12 percent.

The dormitory at Narva mantee 89 has been renovated and a two-person room costs €142 a month.

"This is one of the most popular residential buildings in our country at the moment," explained Karen Tuul, the administrative director of Üliõpilasküla.

Tuul said a new trend seen last year was that many students who started off living in a dormitory but then moved out having found somewhere on the private market, later returned to student accommodation when energy bills started to rise.

This year it is likely the demand for student accommodation will be higher. Applications open in mid-July and many will not start looking for a place to live until then. There are approximately dormitory 3,400 rooms in Tartu but there are almost 10,000 students in the city.

Another reason for increased demand is the number of Ukrainian refugees seeking accommodation in Estonia. Many landlords have hiked prices as a result.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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