Your VP for Welfare and Inclusion Abbey Ojo, MP for Coventry South Zarah Sultana and Warwick Students' Union Welfare and Campaigns Officer Izzy Bourne call on accommodation providers to offer students rent waivers and releases. You can read the contents of their letter here:
As you will be aware, every resident and business in the local community is facing huge pressures and anxieties owing to the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic. It is crucial that we all play our part to ensure everyone gets through the economic hardships that we’re facing.
We are writing to ask that you play your part in this effort by supporting students through this crisis. We represent several thousands of students living in Coventry who have huge concerns about how they are going to make ends meet.
Owing to the new Government restrictions on travel and work, teaching for the upcoming term at the University of Warwick and Coventry University has been moved online, and many students, who have travelled to their family homes over the holiday period, have been advised not to return to the university. Many students will now be in a situation where they will be helping to pay the costs of living with their families, and many will also have sadly lost sources of income. With the majority of students working to cover the costs of study, many students will have lost sources of income they would normally rely upon to make ends meet.
Students are facing upcoming rent payments in properties they are not living in, and which many will not be able to afford. We firmly believe that students should not be penalised financially for abiding by Government advice. University of Warwick students living on campus have been offered a fiveweek rent waiver. It is only right, then, that all students are given the same right.
- We are asking those who have properties with student tenants to do the right thing and:
- Offer students the option of a rent waiver for the period in which travel restrictions apply to students or no-penalty releases from contracts for the rest of the academic year, Where rent has already been taken for the upcoming period, we request that this should be refunded alongside their deposit if the property is no longer required,
- For any rent arrears arising from hardship surrounding Covid-19 to be waived.
We would encourage landlords and letting agents to seek any financial assistance they may need over the coming period at gov.uk/coronavirus. Crucially, the government has refused to put in place similar help for renters though we note that the Government has also banned all evictions during this crisis.
Given the immediate financial difficulties many students are facing we would appreciate a timely response from you on whether you will be adopting these measures. We must all pull together as a community in this trying time, and we sincerely hope you will play your part in this. We look forward to hearing from you.
Zarah Sultana - Member of Parliament for Coventry South
Abimbola Ojo - Coventry Students’ Union Welfare and Inclusion Officer
Izzy Bourne - Warwick Students' Union Welfare and Campaigns Officer