Student Landlords Asked To Relax Rents
Student bodies in the UK are urging landlords with student accommodation to relax rents amid the Covid-19 crisis.
In Canterbury, the students' union says it is 'immoral and unjust' for student accommodation providers to expect their student tenants to pay the full remainder of the year's rent for rooms they no longer live in.
And in Northampton, the students' union has written to landlords and letting agents urging them to give tenants a rent break.
In the letter, the union says: "Many of our students are struggling financially because they are unable to work".
The University of Northampton Students' Union says that most students have lost their income since restaurants, bars and clubs are no longer open for part-time work and they cannot pay rent.
Plight of international students
They have written to the Northampton Student Landlord Network to urge a rent break and highlight the plight of international students still living there.
They say that many of these students have been forced to isolate for at least 12 weeks and they do not have any financial support and are at greater risk.
The union also wants landlords to refund the money paid on all-inclusive bills and they want students moving into accommodation in the next academic year to pay a 'summer rent' rate until face-to-face teaching is resumed by the University.
The union says: "Students should not have to pay for something they are not using."
The Northampton Student Landlord Network replied that its landlords will do everything they can to help when managing final rent payments but ‘student tenants must appreciate that their contracts are unaffected by current circumstances and are legally enforceable’.
Also, students are increasingly supporting a rent strike with growing numbers refusing to pay rent while stranded in student accommodation.
Among the campuses being affected include those at Sussex University and the University of Warwick.
Landlords call for safety certificate extension
Meanwhile, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) is urging for an extension of six months on the validity of all electrical and gas safety certificates to cover the coronavirus lockdown.
In a survey the organisation carried out in March, 38% of landlords say they are struggling to source contractors to carry out the safety work and one-in-three landlords say they cannot carry out work in their properties because their tenants, or they are, self isolating.
The NRLA's chief executive, Ben Beadle, said: "While landlords need to ensure that urgent work to ensure their property is safe for tenants will be carried out, routine checks and maintenance should be delayed to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
"Extending the life of electrical and gas safety certificates will help protect tenants and landlords from having unnecessary contact and offer landlords the legal protection from enforcement action when they are unable to get the work carried out through no fault of their own."