The advice we are all hopefully listening to, is to stay at home and keep safe and like most people students are no exception. But what does the current lockdown mean for them? It is a complicated situation as some students are still in Hall of Residences and private housing; as they were unable to leave and go home, some have gone home but their belongings are still in the accommodation, some got home safely, and all variants in-between.
Universities are being inundated with questions from students, mostly about rent for the Summer term, as a large proportion of students made it home; the main question being asked is, do I still need to pay my accommodation fees? In most cases the University will have a policy on this, and after speaking to Brunel University one of ProtectED’s Founder members their policy is clear on their website, they will not be charging rent for students that are no longer on Campus, as most universities they have Q and A's on the most common questions students are asking, so they can simply put their minds a rest, Including reassuring them about the care of their belongings that were left behind.
In these unprecedented times universities are supporting their students as they should do, with what aspects are in their control, but what about Private Landlord? Unfortunately, this is out of the Universities hands, but students are still contacting their university asking for support.
The Government Guidance on Renting for Landlords and Tenants doesn’t specifically cover Student accommodation, and as most of the contracts are agreed privately; the universities are not involved with the decisions that Private Landlords make. Some are however doing what they can to raise the profile of this issue and are appealing to Landlords on Student’s behalf.
In an open letter Manchester Metropolitan University, The University of Manchester, Salford University and their Students Unions, are asking Landlords to be generous and not charge students that have already vacated their accomodation the rent they would have paid for the Summer term, it remains to be seen if any heed the request, but hopefully this campaign works and some find their Landlords listen and waive the cost.
In these uncertain times, there are so many people who are struggling, it would be good to think people are helping others where they can. But we do have to remember this could be the Landlords only income and they just can’t afford to dismiss the fee.
Lisa Ravenscroft – Communications Manager for ProtectED. You can contact me on: