Accommodation Letter

Private Student Accommodation Letter 6 April 2020

We are urging all purpose-built student accommodation and private landlords to offer the following:

  1. For students who are no longer living at the tenancy address, to be released from their current tenancy agreements, at no financial penalty to them. This follows similar action taken by the University's and providers such as Unite Students. If students have already paid third term rent, you should refund this along with their deposit.
  2. For students who cannot return home or are unable to find another place to live, an extension of tenancy subject to the Covid-19 pandemic continuing past tenancy dates to prevent students from becoming homeless.
  3. For students who have been financially impacted due to Covid-19 and are unable to move, a significant rent reduction or a rent holiday for the duration of the pandemic.
  4. For students who have moved home and are unable to collect their belongings, we ask you to show compassion and work with those students to find a solution.

We understand that not all landlords will be able to foot this bill. In these circumstances, we just ask that conversations are had with those student tenants so they understand the situation.

We have produced a letter, which you can read in full below or by downloading the PDF here, and sent it to the following companies today (6 April 2020):

  • CRM Students- UPDATE for Atlas House, CRM will not be charging the final rent payment!
  • Homes For Students
  • Campus Living Village
  • Prestige Student Living
  • Host
  • Collegiate- UPDATE The majority of their Landlords have agreed to look at the potential of deferring the next rental instalment to tenants who have experienced financial hardship as a consequence of the current crisis. Their policy announcement is here.
  • Fresh Student Living
  • The Student Housing Company
  • Downing Students- UPDATE they have emailed all their direct let tenants details of how to claim a rent reimbursement if they have left the property, and to offer some reassurance and assistance, more here.
  • Vita Student
  • Cardens
  • Gillams
  • Platform_
  • East of Exe
  • RSJ Investments
  • Hunters
  • Llyod Lettings
  • Winkworth
  • Wilkonson Grant and Co
  • Hometrust
  • No.18 Apartments
  • SMART
  • Condor Properties
  • Exeter Property
  • Helier Ridley
  • Graduation Properties
  • OH Property 
  • Star Lettings 
  • Francis Louis Residential 
  • Gingerbread Homes 
  • Southgates Estate
  • Cookleys
  • Capron Gould 
  • Student Cribs 
  • Campbell Properties
  • Weekes Estate Agents
  • Northwood
  • Leamans
  • McKinley White 

This is a public letter from Exeter Students' Guild to landlords and accommodation providers, to ask them to reduce financial pressure on their student tenants during the coronavirus outbreak.

If you are a student concerned about having to pay rent on your private tenancy, because the coronavirus outbreak has put you in a difficult financial position, you can use forward this letter to your landlords and accommodation providers.

If you have any feedback for us, please complete the form here.

Some private landlords will not be able to return third term rent or accommodate all of your concerns. We do ask you to be compassionate and considering to those that will be receiving many requests regarding this issue and are unable to enforce it.

We will provide updates as and when we receive them.


OPEN LETTER


To whom it may concern,

We recognise these are challenging times for everyone and hope that you and your staff are keeping well. During times like these it is vital more than ever that we act as a community and ensure the safety of all our residences. Covid-19 has affected every single one of us, whether it be damage to health, the unpredictability of life at this moment or through financial hardship.

The disruption caused to students cannot be overstated. Covid-19 has forced restaurants, bars, clubs and many other businesses to close their doors. The majority of student jobs are in the now-closed service industry and our members are currently struggling financially. Even with the Government’s retention scheme, many students have already lost their jobs; numerous of students will now have to take on caring responsibilities at home, and many are experiencing a detrimental impact on their mental health.

The financial situation many students now find themselves in cannot be understated. Some students will still be receiving maintenance loans (a minimum of £4,168 per year), this does not cover the true costs of their full amount of rent. As we have mentioned, many students who work for additional money to cover their rent now cannot. Some students also rely on parents or relatives for financial support; as is well documented, a large number of people have been affected financially by coronavirus. Additionally, low-income families may now unexpectedly have another person living at home and students may be asked to contribute to the household finances with their maintenance loans, leaving them in further hardship.

As such, we are urging all purpose-built student accommodation and private landlords to offer the following:

  1. For students who are no longer living at the tenancy address, to be released from their current tenancy agreements, at no financial penalty to them. This follows similar action taken by the University's and providers such as Unite Students. If students have already paid third term rent, you should refund this along with their deposit.
  2. For students who cannot return home or are unable to find another place to live, an extension of tenancy subject to the Covid-19 pandemic continuing past tenancy dates to prevent students from becoming homeless.
  3. For students who have been financially impacted due to Covid-19 and are unable to move, a significant rent reduction or a rent holiday for the duration of the pandemic.
  4. For students who have moved home and are unable to collect their belongings, we ask you to show compassion and work with those students to find a solution.

We understand the drastic financial ask and the impact it could have, however we ask you to compassionately consider that if anything, we can come together and not enhance the crisis’ we have on our hands. Under normal University provisions, we understand you have generated significant profit from the presence of thousands of students in our city. We are therefore urge you to absorb the financial impact of this situation where possible to support the University of Exeter student community.

The government have put in place schemes, including the retention and mortgage holiday schemes, to help business and property owners, therefore as landlords we urge you to consider these as they may give you the financial safety to make these positive steps.

For those receiving this letter and are unable to make this decision regarding rental payments, please share with your landlords and help where possible in accommodating the needs of their tenants.
We strongly urge for you all to come together to take this action in protecting the wellbeing and financial hardships of our students at this difficult time and we appreciate your kind actions at this difficult time. We would be happy to discuss any further steps you are taking to support our students through this uncertain time, please email us on coronavirus@exeterguild.com.

We hope you all stay well and safe throughout this unsettling time.

Yours sincerely,

University of Exeter Students’ Guild Full-Time Officers:
Patrick Hoyle, Guild President
Katie Heard, Vice President Welfare and Diversity
Penny Dinh, Vice President Education
Sunday Blake, Vice President Postgraduate
Liv Harvey, Vice President Activities


University of Exeter Students' Guild is a Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered Charity Number: 1136468 Company Number: 07217324; registered in England and Wales Registered office: Devonshire House, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4PZ