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July 20, 2011

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Home » Metro » Education

Summer student accommodation fears

OUT-OF-TOWN students coming to the city for summer internships are opting for overcrowded apartments or illegally renting dorm space on quiet campuses, raising fire and personal safety concerns.

Shanghai Daily yesterday visited a building popular with non-local students, new graduates and job seekers due to its cheap monthly rent of only 260 yuan (US$30.9) per person.

Residents need to walk down a long lane to access the eight-floor block surrounded by residential buildings on Songhuajiang Road in Yangpu District.

The building is close to Fudan University and Tongji University.

Zhu Xingyue, a sophomore from Jiangsu Province, said she was interested in staying there. "It's very cheap," she said, "The room also has Internet access and air conditioning."

But Zhu admitted she had given little thought to fire and personal safety risks.

The aisles in the building are narrow and no fire fighting equipment is installed in the passages.

And the densely populated block does not appear to provide the required the minimum 5-square-meter area for each tenant under city regulations.

The leasing agent showed the reporter a standard arrangement where eight people share one room and one bathroom. Four bunk beds took up most of the space.

"We have only a few rooms left now," said the agent surnamed Hu. "But we can add more beds into the room to accommodate 12 people."

Meanwhile, some local university students are leasing their dorm beds to cash in on the rising demand for cheap apartments in the summer vacation. Dorm leasing is popular on local housing forums.

Many out-of-town students prefer to live in downtown campus dorms with air conditioners and eat at the university canteen.

However, leasing dorm beds is against university regulations and roommates may also oppose strangers moving in.

Ye Mengdie, an undergraduate from Jiangxi Province in Shanghai for an internship, said she decided against renting a dorm bed. "I felt that it's not safe to live in the dorm with so few people there," said Ye.

Local universities have stressed that leasing dorm beds is forbidden.

"Dorms are a public asset and students don't have the right to lease it," said an official with one university who asked to remain anonymous.

Students will be punished if found leasing dorm space, he added.


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