Waive all third term student rents or provide rent payment plans!

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Sara Elkhawad
Sara Elkhawad signed this petition

Calling Newcastle University students at Newcastle and London campuses- sign to demand your third term rent to be waived/payment plans to be implemented NOW!”

Newcastle University students demand recognition, support and representation from Newcastle City Council, Newcastle University and private accommodation providers in Newcastle and London in light of the many difficulties we are facing due to COVID-19. But more specifically, we demand support relating to the rent and financial hardship we are currently up against. Whilst we’re respectful that this is an incredibly difficult time for everyone, there has been a disappointing and insufficient lack of representation from our city (Newcastle City Council) in representing its student constituents.

A blind eye has been turned to students amidst this crisis, with many unaware of how difficult it has become for us to pay our upcoming rent. Many private accommodation providers are assuming that our student loans are sufficient to cover third term rent, and thus not considering rent waivers, payment plans or payment holidays to help ease our financial burden. Furthermore, many international students have incurred unprecedented costs travelling back to their home countries last minute. For all sorts of reasons, many students are experiencing substantial financial difficulties and are struggling to pay their rent, and for most, payment for properties that they’re not in.

Newcastle University students were told to go home and stay home on the 18th March. Whilst Newcastle University accommodation waived rent for the duration of the lockdown period, many students are still trying to find a compromise with their accommodation providers. We understand that not every accommodation provider will be able to finance our requests to waive rent, but we are demanding a response to our requests from accommodation providers and Newcastle City Council.

NUSU Sabbatical Officers sent a letter to Newcastle City Council outlining these concerns on the 3rd April, and we are yet to receive an adequate response. On the 20th of April, NUSU Sabbatical Officers received an inadequate response from Nick Forbes (leader of Newcastle City Council). His email avoided our requests and did not suggest that Newcastle City Council would lobby accommodation providers on our students’ behalf. This is not good enough. Students are residents too and contribute vastly to the culture and economy of Newcastle, so we deserve recognition and a response to our requests!

Newcastle University have also been hesitant to fully lobby Newcastle City Council to support our requests, and ask that private accommodation providers waive third term rents or consider rent payment holidays/plans. This is in spite of asking their students to return home on the 18th of March, cancelling University-owned accommodation third-term rent and requesting that Managed Partnership accommodations do the same. We feel as though Newcastle University should be lobbying equally for all its students, whatever accommodations they are in.

We have also sent a letter to private accommodation providers, landlords and letting agents in Newcastle and London on the 3rd April and we’ve received very few positive responses, a list of whom can be viewed below.

Newcastle University students demand support from Newcastle City Council to represent us, and we would like our requests to be answered by private accommodation providers who have not responded to our letter. We ask that Newcastle University do more to support the student body by lobbying equally for their students in private accommodations. For those accommodation providers who have made unreasonable decisions upon our requests, we would like them to reconsider their decisions and be considerate towards their student tenants.

We are unsatisfied with the responses from the following accommodation providers:

•   Abodus- students have to had left by 23rd of March to be eligible for Early Leave Policy. Many students could not leave at this point due to travel restrictions.

•   AXO- not releasing students from contracts (offering 20% discount)

•   Ridley Properties- not considering rent waivers or rent payment plans.

•   Student Roost- terminating rent contracts from May 1st (third term starts April 27th)  

•   Sodexo (Oxford House)- terminating rent contracts from May 10th

We have received no response from the following accommodation providers:

•   Abode Living.

•   Acorn Properties.

•   Annette Rutherford.

•   Ash Burton Lettings.

•   Bailey and Co.

•   Baskeys.

•   Bowes Mitchell.

•   Bowson Property.

•   Charles Lamb.

•   Daniel Craig Residential.

•   Easiliving.

•   Erasumus Living.

•   Exchange Residential.

•   Findspace.

•   Foster Maddison.

•   Galaunity.

•   GradPad.

•   Grosvenor Residential

•   Groves.

•   Heaton Property.

•   Hive Estates.

•   HM Residential.

•   Hunters.

•   Jesmond Property Shop.

•   Jesmond Residential.

•   Lets Live Here.

•   Lettco.

•   Living Spaces.

•   McMillan Student Village.

•   Mistletoe Lettings.

•   Next Move Properties.

•   Nicholas Humphreys.

•   Oaks Properties.

•   Octopus Property.

•   Pat Robson.

•   Portland Residential.

•   Property Stop.

•   Redidge Lets.

•   Reedsrains.

•   Rhapsody UK.

•   Rook Matthews Ssayer.

•   Roseworth.

•   Sanctuary Students.

•   Sanderson Young.

•   Sarah Mains.

•   Scape.

•   Taylored Lets.

•   The Student Housing Company.

•   Tyne 2 Let.

•   Tyneside Group.

•   UniLodgers.

•   University Living.

•   Walton Robinson.

•   Wingrove Lettings.

We would like to thank the following accommodation providers who have responded to our letter and have shown flexibility and understanding to our students at this time:

•   Chapter (London).

•   Downing Students.

•   GradPad (London).

•   IQ Students.

•   Liberty Living.

•   Mansons Residents Sales and Lettings Consultants.

•   Unite Students.

 

Signed,

Newcastle University students.