The National Residential Landlords Association says the latest stays report on students under the Coronavirus lockdown is unlikely to have an impact on their tenancy agreements.
Students are currently learning online from wherever they are living, and this is unlikely to change significantly for the next six weeks or so.
“As it stands this does not have any impact on the tenancy agreement unless the landlord has agreed to include a break clause” says a statement from the association.
Some universities were pushing for break clauses in contracts after the last lockdown, but it is thought relatively few contracts were changed in this way.
“Without a break clause it's entirely up to the landlord whether or not to accept early surrender of the agreement” says the NRLA.
During the autumn, when some students left their accommodation earlier than expected to abide by previous lockdown recommendations, the consumer charity Citizens Advice told them to negotiate with their agents or landlords.
“If you share accommodation with other people, then unless you each have a separate agreement, you are likely to be jointly and separately liable for rent” the charity has advised students.
It adds: “This means that the landlord can pursue any of the tenants (or their guarantor) for any rent due under the joint agreement, regardless of which tenant failed to pay their share.”
However, Citizens Advice then suggests that if a student finds themselves in this position, it is worth seeking a negotiation with the agent or landlord. They could release the student from the tenancy, or waive or reduce rent during the period the property is unoccupied, the charity believes.
“Unfortunately, there’s not much good news for students who decide to change households for the medium to long-term, by returning to their family home for example. It’s likely that in many cases they will be tied into their accommodation agreements and not entitled to any refund” says a spokeswoman.
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