Coronavirus: students expected to pay summer rent despite moving back home

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University students’ anger as landlord charges £1,066 rent while they are absent during the lockdown

Glenn Boadu with housemates Ysabelle Lumb, Hannah Smith and Suman Medtia

Social work student at the University of Leeds Glenn Boadu lives on Kirkstall Lane in a private rented house in Leeds, with his four housemates Ysabelle Lumb, Hannah Smith, Suman Medtia and Emma Krofchak.

Glenn’s and housemates rented house on Kirkstall Lane

With universities across the country stopping face to face teaching for the year, many students moved out of their accommodation to go home and be with their families.

Private managed accommodation like Unite Students have agreed to drop final term rent if students move out of their accommodation. However, private landlords have refused to drop payment for summer.

Glenn criticised their landlord for the following decision.

“I feel like we should be charged half rate due to the current situation. It’s unfair to charge us a full rent when none of us are currently living in the house and have gone home for lockdown.”

His housemate Ysabelle added:

“As I’m a self-funded university student I don’t receive student loan and my mum pays for my rent. I am not going to pay for the rent when I have already completely move out of the house. I think it’s ridiculous to be charged final rent when I don’t live there anymore”.

However, their landlord said:

“As you have signed a legally binding contract to the house you are still liable to pay rent. Unfortunately, as a small landlord, I am not in a position to reduce your rent as this is my only source of income and I have my own financial commitments and problems.”

Currently, one out of five people living in the house have paid rent.

Television personality Robert Rinder alongside universities students have expressed their frustration regarding the situation:

First-year nursing student at Anglia Ruskin University Helen Aladenika, was happy to find out her university-owned accommodation Peter Taylor House allowed her to end her tenancy.

credit Anglia Ruskin University

In an email sent to all residents living at Peter Taylor House, students who wanted to end their tenancy had to it by the 29th March 2020.

This meant that they wouldn’t be charge final term rent. However, they needed to remove their belongings by the 31st March 2020 before 5 pm.

photo of email sent to all Peter Taylor House residents

Helen told Birmingham Eastside: “As I’m currently in London, I find it virtually impossible to remove all my belongings from the accommodation due to the restrictions of travel and the government lockdown.”

Since outrage about the news of the University’s decision spread, it has now allowed all residents to remove their belongings once the lockdown is lifted.

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