Rented Housing: Students

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 18th June 2020.

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Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Labour, Brent North

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent discussions he has had with student accommodation providers to prevent students with tenancies having to pay for properties they cannot reside in safely during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

If students have already signed an accommodation contract for next year and, because of the COVID-19 outbreak, think it may no longer fit their requirements, they should talk directly to their accommodation provider.

During these unprecedented times, the Government encourages student accommodation providers, landlords, letting agencies and tenants to take a pragmatic, flexible approach and have a frank and open conversation at the earliest opportunity, to allow both parties to agree a sensible way forward.

In cases where students do not wish to move into the accommodation, they are able to end or surrender their fixed term tenancy if they reach an agreement with their landlord. Where students have a joint tenancy agreement, all tenants will need to agree to the surrender as well as the landlord.

In very limited situations where a student has been legally prevented from living in their accommodation, they may be entitled to a refund from certain accommodation providers. This is dependent on the terms of their contract and their particular circumstances. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds affected by the coronavirus. This sets out the CMA’s view on how the law operates to help consumers understand their rights and help businesses treat their customers fairly. If students need help, organisations such as Citizens Advice offer a free service, providing information and support.

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