Bristol University Student Union calls on landlords to cut rents as pandemic drags on


By Eve Bentley-Hussey, SU Correspondent

Bristol University Students' Union called on Wednesday for a significant rent reduction among other measures to help ease financial pressure on students unable to return to their properties.

The open letter, sent out amid new signs that the UK could remain in lockdown for months beyond the start of February, emphasised the economic strain on students who continue to pay rent for properties in which they no longer live.

In the letter, the Students' Union demand:

  • A significant rent reduction or cancellation over lockdown for students who can not return
  • A no-penalty contract release for students who do not want to return
  • A rent reduction or rent-holiday for students who are losing out financially due to lockdown

In a plea to landlords, they said: ‘We recognise that this is a large financial ask, but as with the previous lockdowns, students have been bearing the brunt of the crisis.

'Any measures which you can take as providers of accommodation would go a long way to alleviate the financial pressures which many students are facing.’

The SU are acting in line with universities and PBSA providers across the country, with many universities, including the University of Bristol, offering rent rebates.

Bristol University on Wednesday delivered a letter in support of the SU's position, acknowledging the hardship endured by students as a result of the pandemic.

‘Students have been particularly impacted by COVID-19 restrictions,' the university said in the letter. 'Following the latest government mandated lockdown, many are facing financial hardship.’

The university called for landlords to be ‘reasonable’ and consider ‘the offer of rent holidays or reductions to student tenants; or the offer of penalty-free contract releases.’

The Students' Union have also provided students with a template letter to write to their own landlords and request a change to their agreement.

Featured Image: Patrick Sullivan / Epigram

Featured Image: Patrick Sullivan / Epigram

Will you write a letter to your landlord? Let us know!