About 1,500 students are protesting about landlords and letting agents demanding thousands of pounds to book their homes almost a year before they move in.
The students have signed a petition urging student landlords and letting agents to draft a code that aims to delay marketing homes in Oxford.
The students union claims students pay an average of £775 in October to book their home for the next academic year - starting in the following September.
With three or four students sharing each property, landlords and agents are receiving around £3,000 in advance for each student let.
Foreign students are also requested to pay six month’s rent in advance.
The code would require agents to put off marketing until February 1.
Letting agents claim landlords pressure them to ask students to sign tenancy agreements early because they fear that they might not let out their properties.
Some agents claim the code has not come in to force because some firms will not sign up - and other agents feel they will be at a marketing disadvantage unless every agent agrees to be bound by the terms.
They also pointed out that one of the key signatories would be Oxford Brookes Student Union, which is reluctant to publish information about marketing dates and accredited landlords.
“It is not fair to make students sign up for a property and hand over so much money 10 months in advance of when they need to do so. No other tenants would be made to do this,” said a students union spokesman.
Letting agents also accuse students of driving the marketing by requesting agents block book their homes - and some even claim students have offered them bribes to reserve favoured properties.
Many universities - like Lincoln, Bristol and London - have housing fairs for students in February.
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