In general, the Students’ Union Advice Centre can advise students in regard to aspects of private rented housing such as:
If you need help with any of the above, you can book a phone appointment with one of our expert advisers.
However, due to recent government announcements about COVID-19 guidance (September 22nd 2020), we felt we should put some basic advice up as to how the new guidance may affect you.
Private Landlord accommodation
Many students will opt to rent in private accommodation this year.
The first thing we need to clarify is that:
*It should be noted that the advice centre cannot support or recommend "rent Strikes" by private landlord tenants.
This is because under housing law (section 21 of the housing act) Tenants could be evicted if rent has been withheld. The government have extended the period from 8 weeks to 3 months (with the ability for this to be extended to 6 months). It still remains in law that a tenant can be evicted and face court action if rent is withheld and it would go against the values and remit of the advice centre policy to advise students to follow any route that could see them facing court action/eviction (and still owing rent).
What we would advise is that student tenants submit a complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) stating that they are paying for a product service that they cannot use or access due to Lockdown restrictions. You can submit a complaint to the CMA here https://www.coronavirus-business-complaint.service.gov.uk/
We cannot guarantee a complaint would be upheld, but the more student tenants submit complaints, the greater the argument for change, will be.
Please also consider letting your MP's know that you demand a rent reduction here
If you have any concerns about campus accommodation, in the first instance you should contact the university accommodation team via
The accommodation team will be able to advise you about repairs, room transfers, and any potential restrictions based on Government and local guidance.
As per the advice above, if instructions are given in regard to restricted movement, that would be based on Government guidelines rather than contractual terms.
We must again point out the Students’ Union Advice Team would not be in a position to challenge Government guidance in regard to restriction of movement or challenging to be released from your halls agreement based on restrictions set out by the Government or local authority.
At the time of writing (September 2020), Government guidance still allows limited movement between Households in England.
Fact Check: Can I visit people indoors?
Yes. When meeting with people you don’t live with you can socialise in groups of up to 6. This is a legal limit. If your household (and/or support bubble) is larger than 6 people, you can gather together.
You should continue to maintain social distancing with anyone you do not live with. There is further guidance on meeting others safely, which includes details of exemptions from this limit, including for larger households and support bubbles.
However, stricter restrictions have been applied in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
New rules mean that you must not make indoor social visits to other households.
See here for more information.
The new restrictions mean there will be no mixing of two households indoors except for single-person household bubbles and certain other exemptions such as for caring responsibilities and visits for legal or medical purposes. No more than six people from two households can meet in private gardens.
See here for more information.