Please remember that you have signed a legally binding contract and therefore should continue to make your rent payments on time unless another arrangement has been made with your landlord or letting agent in writing.
If you are in financial difficulty
If you are unable to pay your rent due to a loss of income or change in circumstance you can apply to the University’s hardship fund (The Access to Learning Fund). This is a non-repayable grant which the University has to support students in engaging with their studies. (https://www2.worc.ac.uk/moneyadvice/accesstolearningfund.htm).
If you require assistance fill in the form or have questions about the process you can book an appointment with Kate our advisor for independent and confidential advice. (https://www.worcsu.com/helpandadvice/adviceform/)
Private Renting (not University)
You can contact your landlord and explain how the lockdown has impacted your financially. Please bear in mind that everyone has been affected by the pandemic and that landlords may also be experiencing financial strains. Be open to negotiating, for example asking whether you could be refunded the household bill costs if you have an inclusive of bills contract.
Current guidance allows students to remove their belongings from properties should they move out – given they take care to not interact with anyone outside of their household bubble. However, we recommend where possible that you do not return to get your belongings unless absolutely necessary to help with the national effort to protect the NHS and save lives.
University Managed Accommodation
The University Managed Accommodation licence agreement allows you to leave your contract when teaching is moved fully online for a period of 28 days or more.
You can do this by contacting accommodation (email@example.com). However, please think about the following points before making the decision to leave your contract:
- The University is yet to make any announcement about whether teaching will be online, face to face or a combination following any potential lifting of lockdown measures beyond mid-February. This could mean that you might have face to face classes that, if you’ve left your accommodation now, you would find difficult to attend. (We have asked for clarity on the nature of teaching for the rest of the academic year).
- There might not be the opportunity to restart your contract following the lift of lockdown measures.
- You may be required to collect your belongings or, if this is not possible, have your belongings stored by the University.
Please think carefully about the points above before making the decision to leave your contract. The Students’ Union will continue to ask for more information from the University on these important topics.
Emailing Robin Walker our local MP
Students across the country are all in the same position. This is national issue and therefore may require a national response. You can write to our local MP in Worcester, Robin Walker, to explain how COVID has affected your housing situation. We have written a template letter for you. You can also write to your local MP; you can find out how to contact them through the following link: https://members.parliament.uk/members/Commons
What is your SU doing for you?
I am working with other SU Presidents to lobby the government to support the student rental sector including to writing to Robin Walker. This includes support for both University and privately rented accommodation. We are aware that some other universities have granted accommodation refunds and discounts however we are taking our time to work out the best solution. There may be implications on your student loan with full rent refunds which we want to avoid.
We have also asked the University that international students who are unable to enter the country do not have to pay rent for university managed accommodation until they are able to access their accommodation.
This continues to be a difficult situation and we understand how frustrating it is to be paying for accommodation you can’t access. We are doing all we can to make sure that we are supporting students throughout this period.