TU Delft students prefer to share accommodation than live alone

More than half of TU Delft students would rather share accommodation with housemates than live alone in a studio, reveals a Delta questionnaire. What else did our poll reveal?

While Dutch students prefer to live with housemates, higher numbers of international students opt for studios. (Illustration: Liam van Dijk)

Delta looked at TU Delft students’ accommodation preferences during the various phases of their study. In a studio with a private bathroom and kitchen or in a student house with shared amenities? How do the preferences differ between students living at home and living elsewhere? And what is the impact of the Covid pandemic on these accommodation preferences?

Lack of accommodation
379 students completed the questionnaire: 184 bachelor students, 182 master students, 6 transition students, and 7 PhD students.

  • To analyse the data, we distinguished between bachelor and transition students and master and PhD students. The accommodation preferences differed between these groups depending on the study phase and the age. Read our justification statement for a detailed explanation.

The questionnaire shows that almost one quarter of the bachelor students still live at home. The reason given by the respondents is the lack of other accommodation (35%) and affordability (28%).

None of the six transition students lives at home and 4% of the master and PhD students are still staying with their parents or carers. They list the affordability, lack of other accommodation and proximity to TU Delft as reasons.

One respondent is living at home so as not to take a place away from someone who badly needs the room. “I would enjoy living in rooms, but I live at cycling distance from TU Delft (25 minute cycle ride). It would feel unfair to occupy a room while someone who lives far away has no room.”

Of the bachelor students living at home, 30% would like to stay at home while studying. The students who would rather leave home would prefer to live with other students (42%) and live in a studio during their master’s (49%). Master students living at home prefer to move on to an independent rented accommodation (29%) or a room with shared amenities (29%).

Studio with communal space
62% of the bachelor and transition students that are not living at home currently prefer shared accommodation, that is, a room with shared bathroom and kitchen. The percentage of these students that say that they would also like to live this way is smaller: 50%. The interest in a studio (24%) and independent multiple room accommodation (18%) are higher. One respondent expressed a preference for a studio with a communal space in the complex. Duwo, the student accommodation provider, has built these types of complexes in Amsterdam and Wageningen.

Master and PhD students are less interested in studios (22%) or rented accommodation with several rooms (17%), but prefer (55%) houses with shared amenities.

Of all students that occupy non-self-contained accommodation such as a  room in a student house, the majority live with one to three housemates. They are satisfied with the number of housemates. Master’s students that now share accommodation with one to three others would like to expand their households to more housemates.

One striking detail is that international students, both during their bachelors and masters, have different housing expectations than their Dutch fellow students. While Dutch students prefer to live with housemates, higher numbers of international students opt for studios.

“What I mostly would not like about a room in a student house is the lack of privacy. I would prefer a space that is completely mine and where I can do my thing undisturbed,” explained one international student the preference for a studio.

Location, location, location
The level of satisfaction about their current housing situation varies across the groups. Bachelor students living at home are the least satisfied and bachelor and transition students living away from home the most satisfied. Among the students living at home, that dissatisfaction is mostly about the location, something that students living away from home are the most satisfied about. They also give the number of housemates a high score. They are the least satisfied about the level of rent. 

For all the students, price (86%), housemates (84%) and location (76%) determine (important to very important) their satisfaction with their living conditions. Size (66%) is named less often. Other aspects that respondents found important are the condition of the accommodation, the contact with the landlord, the type of rental contract, the degree of privacy, enjoyment and noise. 

The Covid pandemic has had an unmistakable effect on the accommodation enjoyment and preferences of students. The Landelijke Monitor Studentenhuisvestiging (national monitor of student housing) 2021 showed that of the students that wanted to leave their parents home in 2020, 40% had not moved one year later. 37% say that this is a direct consequence of the Covid pandemic.

How do TU Delft students experience this? Do they prefer to live with housemates so that they still see people, or prefer to live alone to avoid infection?

‘During the Covid pandemic I was more bothered by my housemates than usual’

41% of TU Delft students say that their accommodation preferences have changed since the Covid pandemic. They give various reasons for this which range from ‘Being alone is no fun, I need housemates’ to ‘During the Covid pandemic I preferred living alone so that there was no chance of infection at home’.

One student living at home was less motivated to move to rooms. Another exchanged their studio for a student house because of wanting to live with housemates again. Disturbance was frequently stated as a reason to leave a student house again.

One student said: ‘I live in a large student house. Because of being at home a lot, I got sick of everyone giving parties here instead of elsewhere.’ Another student had to work at home more. ‘I was then more bothered by my housemates than usual.’

Additional research
Previous research done by the Municipality of Delft (in Dutch) and Stip, Oras and WijWonen showed opposing information about the accommodation needs of students, Delta wanted to gain an understanding of the actual accommodation needs of students during their studies.

Our results confirm the picture sketched by Stip, Oras and WijWonen in 2019 whereby more than half the 700 students questioned would prefer to share accommodation with housemates than live alone. 

We do note however that our survey is only representative in terms of study phase. If we look at gender and nationality (Dutch, European, International), the random survey does not match this.

While our results show that international students prefer independent accommodation, we advise examining this in greater depth. Our random survey of this group is not sufficiently representative to draw conclusions. 

News editor Marjolein van der Veldt

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