Thousands of UK university students offered 50 percent rent reduction during lockdown

Unite Students and Student Roost have confirmed discounts for those affected

Thousands of UK university students have been offered a 50 percent rent reduction amid the third coronavirus-enforced lockdown.

Unite Students, the nation’s largest student accommodation provider, has confirmed that its tenants will be able to apply for the discount as the current “stay at home” rule is preventing many from returning to university for the spring term.

Those affected by the restrictions, which were announced for England on January 4, will also be offered a complimentary, four-week extension of their tenancy agreement at the end of the academic year.

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The 50 percent reduction and the extension is available to students who are living away from their rented accommodation between January 18 and February 14 (the discount will be applied to that period only).

You can check your eligibility and apply here.

Student Roost, meanwhile, is offering a discount of up to six weeks’ rent to its residents who are unable to travel back to university because of the lockdown.

Students are required to apply by 23:59 on January 25. Further details on the scheme can be found here.

“Thanks so much to all the residents who have contacted us and for your patience until we could update you,” a message reads on the company’s Twitter account. “We’re grateful to you for following the rules & taking the risk of COVID-19 seriously.”

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See the tweet below.

This comes after a number of universities – including Sheffield, Manchester, Essex and Newcastle – confirmed that their students won’t have to to pay rent if they are not returning to their halls during the lockdown.

However, Universities UK has said that the “vast majority” of students do not reside in accommodation that is owned by their university, and are therefore at the mercy of private landlords and other providers (such as Unite and Student Roost).

As the BBC report, an increasing number of students are pledging to withhold rent due to the latest restrictions, while many have hit out at the prospect of paying full tuition fees – despite the fact that learning is currently taking place largely online.

Back in October, first-year student Kate McMahon spoke to NME about her experience of going to university in the midst of a pandemic – claiming that the UK government “don’t care about us [students]”.

“It’s entirely the government’s fault,” McMahon said. “University halls have been able to open because the government have decided, ‘Oh it’s safe for students to go into halls’.”

She went on to say that “the economics of the university” had been prioritised over “the mental and physical health of the students”.

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