Know Your Rights: Student Accommodation

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We announced recently that the Sabb Team successfully lobbied the University in pausing rent payments for students living in University owned accommodation. Some providers in the private sector such as Unite have also offered students discounted rent.

Our next step is to ask the other private accommodation providers to follow in footsteps of the University and other providers and not charge rent for the periods students cannot use the property.

We wanted to let you know that are things that you can do:

Send a letter to your landlord, asking for help

Within this letter, it explains that you would like to discuss matters with your landlord in the face of the new lockdown.

Once you’ve agreed to a discussion with them, here are some ideas of what you can ask. Each landlord will be different so it is worth asking them to consider different ideas.

  • To not regard any failure to occupy the tenancy for the period of lockdown as a breach of contract. Many tenancies require you to not leave the property empty for more than two to four weeks.
  • Pausing your rent until you return to Newcastle and not adding it to the final rent payment. This is the Northumbria approach.
  • Pausing your rent until you return to Newcastle and discussing a way to pay the difference over the rest of the rental period.
  • Continue to make regular rent payments but agree a 50% reduction in rent for the remainder of the contract reflecting the uncertainty of end of lockdown and opportunity to return to Newcastle.
  • Allowing you to exit your contract early.

Please note, you could face legal implications if you fail to pay for rent. This will affect your credit score for many things after you leave University. You will also run the risk of being evicted from the property.

Legal implications of a rent strike.

NUS have released campaign resources on rent strikes and their document in this link has as section on this.  Any information on the legal implications can be found on pages 15-16 https://www.nusconnect.org.uk/resources/students-on-rent-strike.  If you are unsure what a CCJ (County Court Judgement) is as mentioned in this document, please see https://www.gov.uk/county-court-judgments-ccj-for-debt.  If you have a guarantor as part of your contract they will also be liable to for paying your rent and the landlord has the legal right to apply for a CCJ for you and your guarantor.  Please see further information here https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/private_renting/guarantors_for_private_renters 

 

Sending a letter your local MP

We strongly encourage you to write to your local MP, asking them to raise this matter in parliament and support students, you can find out who your MP is here.

The issue of student rents is being discussed in Parliament. You can read some of the comments which MPs have made in Parliament in response to students’ getting in touch.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-01-12/debates/A9F122DF-3DB0-404A-9DF0-CF1709E14DA2/Covid-19#contribution-9F6B8DD5-81C3-47E2-A8CC-981A4227A5C2

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-01-12/debates/A9F122DF-3DB0-404A-9DF0-CF1709E14DA2/Covid-19#contribution-38D12DA4-B496-4C38-AE48-FA8F34E8DF48

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-01-12/debates/A9F122DF-3DB0-404A-9DF0-CF1709E14DA2/Covid-19#contribution-5957E440-54A8-449D-B4A0-F6A537331916

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-01-12/debates/A9F122DF-3DB0-404A-9DF0-CF1709E14DA2/Covid-19#contribution-C7DF9E5A-8B3E-4573-8455-03283F10B14D

If you have any further questions, email su.advice@northumbria.ac.uk

 

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