University students start rent strikes

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StrawberryDreams
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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...shire-55546265

Students at Lancaster University have started a rent strike, with a BBC article claiming that 'many students in halls of residence signed up to the rent strike claiming they had been "lured" back to campus with the promise of in-person teaching.
Others are angry they are being charged for rooms they cannot occupy due to lockdown restrictions.
The university said it would "make up" for changes to face-to-face teaching.'


Students have asked for the following in an open letter:

' 1. A 50% rent reduction for students living on campus or in university managed accommodation
2. A full rent waiver for students who are unable to access their rooms
3. Meaningful action to improve the provision of essential student services, such as mental health support
4. A guarantee that students face no repercussions for participating in strike action '


This action follows Manchester University students occupying a building in protest of high rents and lack of support they felt they received in late 2020.

The Tab is also reporting students at over 30 universities are participating in a rent strike over the UK: https://thetab.com/uk/2021/01/04/tho...-strike-187828

MoneySavingExpert posted a useful article around what unis are doing in regards to accommodation refunds here: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/ne...ersity-return/

What do you think about the rent strikes? Let us know your thoughts!
Last edited by StrawberryDreams; 8 months ago
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aBalloonaBalloon
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Good for them, I hope it works out for them. Students have been put in such a bad situation, with promises made to them and then broken. They shouldn't have to pay rent when many of them can't even use their rooms, and those that are able to do so are not getting anything like the proper student experience that they have paid for.

And the government has failed yet again to properly help
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StrawberryDreams
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(Original post by aBalloonaBalloon)
Good for them, I hope it works out for them. Students have been put in such a bad situation, with promises made to them and then broken. They shouldn't have to pay rent when many of them can't even use their rooms, and those that are able to do so are not getting anything like the proper student experience that they have paid for.

And the government has failed yet again to properly help
I think a lot of students are feeling the same way as you describe here. It's such a difficult situation and a lot of people are trying to figure out how best to make their voices heard.

Are you a current student? If so, what information or action from the Government would you like to see happen?

I hope you are taking care
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I’m a student at Lancaster university and honestly, the university need the money to uphold learning and infrastructure so it’s whether students want to compromise this for the sake of some short term money that they never expected to have in the first place.
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𝓖𝓱𝓸𝓼𝓽𝓵𝓪𝓭𝔂
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(Original post by StrawberryDreams)
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...shire-55546265

Students at Lancaster University have started a rent strike, with a BBC article claiming that 'many students in halls of residence signed up to the rent strike claiming they had been "lured" back to campus with the promise of in-person teaching.
Others are angry they are being charged for rooms they cannot occupy due to lockdown restrictions.
The university said it would "make up" for changes to face-to-face teaching.'


Students have asked for the following in an open letter:

' 1. A 50% rent reduction for students living on campus or in university managed accommodation
2. A full rent waiver for students who are unable to access their rooms
3. Meaningful action to improve the provision of essential student services, such as mental health support
4. A guarantee that students face no repercussions for participating in strike action '


This action follows Manchester University students occupying a building in protest of high rents and lack of support they felt they received in late 2020.

The Tab is also reporting students at over 30 universities are participating in a rent strike over the UK: https://thetab.com/uk/2021/01/04/tho...-strike-187828

MoneySavingExpert posted a useful article around what unis are doing in regards to accommodation refunds here: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/ne...ersity-return/

What do you think about the rent strikes? Let us know your thoughts!
My daughter is a student at Lancaster Uni and I feel they should have a rent reduction, not all, but at least a partial amount off thier next invoice. She has had 3 hours per fornight of labs. The 'Blended learning' that they promised and sold in August was more 'one sided' online version. But this was a lot of unis, not just Lancaster. And study spaces being closed, where they could very easily be used in a spaced out way (yes physics atrium) are not being utilised and I can see why they are not getting the right deal for thier buck. And having to go home early and some students not able to come back to campus.

Dont get me wrong, I love the uni. And they have had a brilliant approach to the freshers week programme and I love the eateries on campus and the library facilities are excellent. And it was the accommodation, and the fact she made the effort to make friends on facebook freshers chats 6 months prior to starting uni, she has a very large friends group. And the teaching staff are superb, they have made the teaching in such a strange time enjoyable. But yeah paying £5700 a year for accommodation which cannot be accessed, and facilities that cannot be used, I do think there should be a reduction on the next invoice.
Last edited by 𝓖𝓱𝓸𝓼𝓽𝓵𝓪𝓭𝔂; 8 months ago
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harrysbar
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Exeter Uni emailed their students this message yesterday:

In response to the national lockdown introduced on Monday, 4 January, the University has been reviewing its approach to accommodation fees. We have listened closely to our students and have had helpful and constructive conversations with our partners in the Students’ Guild and Students’ Union. I would like to thank the many students who have given feedback to student representatives and officers which has informed our discussions.

I am pleased to say that for those students who are living in University or FX Plus accommodation, or whose contracts were arranged through the University with a nominated partner, we will waive the rent charges that would be payable during this lockdown period, for those who do not return to their accommodation.

This arrangement will cover the period of the national lockdown during which many of you have been asked by Government not to return to your term time accommodation. This began on 4 January and is currently expected to stay in place until mid-February.


Hopefully other unis will follow now a few unis are waiving rent charges for this period. Although it still doesn't help students renting through private providers like Unite, or private landlords :dontknow:
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CarysEBurke
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I’m a student at Lancaster university and honestly, the university need the money to uphold learning and infrastructure so it’s whether students want to compromise this for the sake of some short term money that they never expected to have in the first place.
I'm A StuDeNT At LaNCaStER
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DiddyDec
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While I support their actions there is no legal basis for "rent strikes" it is simply non-payment of rent which is unlawful. However it is likely the university will not implement punitive measures due to reputational damage.

The Government needs to properly support universities to ensure they do not have to rely on their rental income to fund the university as is the case now. Universities were left with little choice when it came to rent as without that vital income they would likely be falling into the red which the Government knew and ignored.

Universities should also be far more transparent than "we will make it up to you" which is a completely meaningless statement that should never have been made.

On top of that renter rights need be reviewed because as it stands landlord can implement punitive measures for a whole host of reasons when the tenant breaches the contract but tenants have almost no avenues for legal recourse when the roles are reversed.
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mnot
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These are happening up & down the country.

The thing is universities didn't force these students to sign up to the accommodation they chose to do it, also the restrictions were not the universities doing nor was the pandemic. Honestly I think accommodation providers should uphold their responsibility for the accommodation services including any catering/cleaning services they offer but should not be forced to give any money back.

If the accommodation services have spare cash in their budgets and wish to give a reduction it then by all means and I would say that would be very honourable of them, but I dont think rent should be withheld via a strike (this is no different to extortion). If I were a accommodation provider id be more inclined to give a rent reduction to those why pay on time every time the rent is due, the people who just refuse to pay id take to court.
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by StrawberryDreams)
What do you think about the rent strikes? Let us know your thoughts!
People that want to be treated as adults, behaving like children. If you sign a contract, you stick to it.

Now, let's discuss home much of their student "loan" should be returned, if there are rent reductions / refunds ..
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(Original post by RogerOxon)
People that want to be treated as adults, behaving like children. If you sign a contract, you stick to it.

Now, let's discuss home much of their student "loan" should be returned, if there are rent reductions / refunds ..
This situation was unprecedented and unusual. Universities should be flexible.
No one can work right now unless you're a keyworker which puts more people, especially students who were working part time to support themselves under more stress financially.
If things were normal, I'm sure no one would complain, there would be no strikes and they would continue paying as before.
But understand that things have drastically changed, the facilities that come within the contract are unavailable hence why people are complaining.
And I think student loans should be reduced. Makes no sense that students are paying 9k for zoom classes. They may as well use online tutorials on Youtube to teach themselves the degree rather than be in 40k + in debt for 1/2 of the degree being zoom classes. The only good thing is the paper.
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I'm overall glad that students are looking to have their voices heard and support the rent strikes as long as it remains peaceful.
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by Anonymous)
This situation was unprecedented and unusual. Universities should be flexible.
Why? If you sign a contract, both sides clearly state under what circumstances they will be responsible, and for what. That's the whole point. If you go crying to the government, or public opinion, whenever something that you didn't expect happens, then you're not mature enough to sign contracts.

Students still have the same income from student finance. They are, typically, not affected financially by COVID-19. There are many more deserving causes.

(Original post by Anonymous)
No one can work right now unless you're a keyworker which puts more people, especially students who were working part time to support themselves under more stress financially.
What percentage of students work part time? What percentage have to for basic living expenses?

(Original post by Anonymous)
If things were normal, I'm sure no one would complain, there would be no strikes and they would continue paying as before.
Should landlords strike too? You seem to think that they can afford to get no rent.

(Original post by Anonymous)
But understand that things have drastically changed, the facilities that come within the contract are unavailable hence why people are complaining.
And I think student loans should be reduced. Makes no sense that students are paying 9k for zoom classes. They may as well use online tutorials on Youtube to teach themselves the degree rather than be in 40k + in debt for 1/2 of the degree being zoom classes. The only good thing is the paper.
I'm not talking about fees, just rent and maintenance "loans". If students are living at home, often rent-free, and not having to pay rent at university, then they should repay the excess "loan". It's not real debt, and is typically written off, due to the noddy degrees that many do.
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Chronoscope
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That sounds too good to be true if it happens
My unis currently discussing rent reductions etc. Fingers crossed. :yep:
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StrawberryDreams
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Update: For students staying in UNITE accommodation, you can receive a 50% discount on rent for the four week period between 18th Jan - 14th Feb

Eligibility criteria is here:
https://www.unitestudents.com/the-co...aign=January21
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bluecargirl
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Got a real problem with my rent for halls. In my foundation year, just been charged for 3 January 2021 - 18 April 2021 but I have not been in my room since mid November 2020! £1930 gone in a flash
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mnot
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(Original post by bluecargirl)
Got a real problem with my rent for halls. In my foundation year, just been charged for 3 January 2021 - 18 April 2021 but I have not been in my room since mid November 2020! £1930 gone in a flash
Unfortunate, and something that has affected lots of students, but I wouldn’t describe this as a problem. This is how tenancy agreements work.

I would advise all year 13s to do the relevant due diligence on your obligations for accommodation contracts before you sign.
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bluecargirl
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(Original post by mnot)
Unfortunate, and something that has affected lots of students, but I wouldn’t describe this as a problem. This is how tenancy agreements work.

I would advise all year 13s to do the relevant due diligence on your obligations for accommodation contracts before you sign.
Thanks mnot, There was supposed to be a waiver you see. But mine hasn't been waived. Sorry to sound thick but what are year 13s. Or do you mean sixth form?
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mnot
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(Original post by bluecargirl)
Thanks mnot, There was supposed to be a waiver you see. But mine hasn't been waived. Sorry to sound thick but what are year 13s. Or do you mean sixth form?
Yes, year 13 is last year of school.

The waiver sounds like something worth digging through emails to find.
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