Release students from housing contracts during the Covid-19 crisis.

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Up and down the country, students have been returning home in increasing numbers due to guidance issued by the Government and their University. In doing so they are rightly staying home, protecting the NHS and saving lives.

Now they find themselves facing great uncertainty with their rent payments. It is wholly unjust for them to be financially penalised for carrying out their civic duty and therefore save lives. Landlords and letting agents, whether they are small self employed businesses or large national companies, are able to to apply for a number of government initiatives that will see them through the current crisis including mortgage holidays and other measures to protect their income.

There is now no need for landlords and letting agents to keep students tied into contracts for accommodation students are not using.

We are asking the Government to support students by compelling accommodation providers, landlords and letting agents to undertake the following 8 measures:

  1. Offer students a no-penalty release from their tenancy contracts, both for the current and upcoming academic year.
  2. Refund those students who have paid rent and a deposit for the upcoming period.
  3. Effectively reduce, subsidise or waive rent for tenants who have experienced a detrimental financial impact as a result of the Coronavirus.
  4. Operate a holistic ban on evictions for all renters during this pandemic.
  5. Stop all rent increases planned for the current and upcoming academic year.
  6. Allow students with health conditions that increase their risk to the Coronavirus and thus wish to relocate to a more isolated part of their PBSA to do so at no extra cost.
  7. In line with Liberty Living’s stance, offer free of charge support beyond their current tenancy to those needing to extend their stay. This is crucial for international students who are unable to leave due to travel restrictions and for students who do not wish to return home to avoid placing a vulnerable member of their household at increased risk.
  8. Implement and offer student tenants access to best practice public health advice, in addition to providing them with material and pastoral support.

The values you enact going forward in addressing the measures outlined above will shape our student community and society as a whole for years to come. There is no doubt this is the right thing to do. Students are counting on your support and we hope you will provide it.