,To ensure students are given Rent relief given the Covid-19 situation!

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This Petition has one simple goal. This is to ensure students rights as tenants are protected during these uncertain times. During this academic year , students learning has been significantly impacted by Lecturer strikes and Covid-19. Although this is not the fault of any Landlord or letting agent and a legally  binding tenancy agreement has been signed between the tenant and landlord , steps must be taken by the government , landlords , students and letting agents to come up with a reasonable solution for everyone.

My own letting agent is very good at issuing statements and has stated that student finance maintenance loans will be paid and therefore everyone should still be able to pay their rent. Now many would argue that since QUB has recently let students be released from their agreements that private landlords should do the same. 

Having said that , I’m not advocating on behalf of landlords , but there is a contract which states that rent need to be paid and it’s everyones responsibility to honour that agreement. Although given these unique circumstances as I know all to well, money is a big issue as a student. Furthermore my student loan is not in until April 20th and rent is due on the 1st April. I can imagine a lot of other students are a similar position.

I worked a part time job in the hospitality sector which is now closed due to the virus. I can only imagine that there are many other students who relied on a combination of their student loan and part - time work in order to afford to be a student. 

On balance , I think that bit only is it essential that everyone works together to come with a solution , but also that landlords or letting agents do not take advantage of this situation and the vulnerability of anyone to attempt to bully or pressure them , there is enough pressure as it is with the changing assessment methods and people dealing with family members who may be in a vulnerable position to get sick from the virus.

This issue needs to be fixed immediately and with a combination of support from key stakeholders in the process. A solution can be reached. I personally have a number of reasonable solutions I would like to propose.

(1) The government provides rent relief with students for the next few months until the situation calms down.

(2) The student loan is paid on the 1st April in order for students to pay their rent on time.

(3) The government pays the rent on students behalf and adds the balance onto their existing student loan to be paid in the future.

(4) since in the event of non - payment of rent , a guarantor is liable for the rent, and since this is usually a parent , then parents should be given the necessary money to pay the rent. This defeats the argument that giving students extra money will just mean they will spend it on things other than the rent.

please support this petition and raise awareness of this issue as quickly as possible and together we can find a solution.

yours Sincerely Darren Tallon