Over a third of students are falling into debt to meet upfront costs on properties, the NUS revealed.
Over one in three are also struggling with energy bills, with almost a quarter unaware of the Energy Performance Certificate.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “We hear from young people every day living in unsafe rented homes, dealing with rogue landlords, struggling to pay sky-high rents, or paying out hundreds in unfair letting fees.
“This can’t carry on. The government must do more to improve our broken rental market, and make sure that every landlord provides the safe and decent home that we all deserve.”
More shockingly still, over three quarters of students have a problem with the condition of their homes. Over half have condensation; almost half have mould, and a quarter have slugs, mice or another infestation in their current home.
Colum McGuire, NUS vice president, said: “Although there’s a commonly held perception that poor quality student housing is a rite of passage, it is both disgusting and unacceptable that students should live in vermin infested housing in this day and age.
“Local housing issues, such as mice infestations, fall under the remit of local government and NUS is urging government to ensure that local councils have the resource and capacity to deal with this.”
NUS will be supporting student unions to empower students as tenants.