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 Break clauses to be demanded by many students in future - claim

A website claims an average £1,621 has been ‘wasted’ by each student on accommodation they haven't used this academic year - and that as a result many want break clauses in future rental contracts.

Save The Student claims only six per cent of students have received any refund for accommodation they have been unable to use; it quantifies that amount ‘wasted’ by students in unusable accommodation as almost £1 billion this academic year. 

It also says that one in three students plan to ask for a break clause in their contract next year; half the students questioned said they were unhappy with how their accommodation provider handled the pandemic.

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“Students have been consistently exploited and ignored during this pandemic. We are seen as cash cows, with many stuck paying extortionate rents for properties they either cannot use or cannot afford” says Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, National Union of Students vice president for higher education. 

This survey makes clear that the [government offer of] £50m in hardship funding is a drop in the ocean compared to the eye-watering costs that students are facing. If Westminster did the right thing and matched the hardship funding being made available in Wales for students, the amount needed would be more than £700m.”

Jake Butler of Save the Student singles out private landlords for criticism. 

 

 

He comments: “A lot of accommodation providers, particularly universities, have reacted well but many students, mostly those renting from private landlords, have been left without a leg to stand on. Time and time again the government has promised to look at the poor situation students are in but we’re yet to see any effective action. 

“I would urge the government to work with landlords and universities to offer students financial support to cover any rent payments for accommodation that cannot be accessed."

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

  • George Dawes

    I wouldn't let to a student in the first place

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    I was bitten by students in the 90s, never again.

     
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    Students already come with many disadvantages, like snobby parents and unfounded sense of entitlement, which mean we can charge them higher rents already. Scotland brought in this break clause in December 2017 and rents for the best properties soared by 30% overnight.

    English students should be careful what they wish for, but landlords with desirable properties have nothing to fear. Those with poor properties will find students eager to rent them when they're turned down for the better properties they think they deserve.

     
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    • 17 February 2021 15:49 PM

    Why should students be any different to any other tenant?
    The rules are the rules.

     
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    Students have maintenance grants to pay their rent - LLs don't have access to effectively interest free loans that get written off after 25 years, they have mortgages that need to be paid.

    Students pay little or no attention to the contract they sign and are just interested in living with their mates. They, and many other people, got caught out by covid. Unlike many other people, most have parents to fall back on. Those that don't can access a hardship fund. The pandemic was not caused by LLs so why should they take they hit?

    You signed a contract and you've had to absorb a loss. Welcome to the real world.

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    Students - real world ? you're asking a lot there !

     
  • Matthew Payne

    I dont follow the point about "have been unable to use". Why did the accomodation become redundant? Simply because the 4 hours a week of lectures on campus that they very rarely went to anyway (I speak from experience), were instead taking place online where in fact they theoretically would be more likely to attend and benefit from the education anyway.

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    Matthew

    I rarely attended lectures as a student, but in my defence that was because they were so early in the morning - some starting well before 11.00am!

    If Human Rights had been such a hot potato then, I might have reported the University for inflicting cruel and unusual punishment - but then again, even as a typical student of that day's sense of entitlement, I think I would have recognised how lucky I really was with my comfortable carefree lifestyle and lack of real life problems and responsibilities.

     
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    Students signed their tenancy agreement knowing full well that a second Covid outbreak was likely. It was not a shock as in March 2020.

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    • 17 February 2021 16:07 PM

    Quite right.

    Maybe it will be another good lesson for them amongst all the other lessons of life that they are supposed to be learning at Uni?

    And a good lesson at that.

     
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    It seems like the Student would like a one party Contract that only applies to one party but a Contract is supposed to be between both parties, (leaving Corona aside). The Tenant can stay to end of Contract or have a break Clause in between to walk away, will the LL be allowed a break Clause ? didn't think so and maybe even unable to get possession at the end either, possibly have to wait 6 / 12 months after if the Tenant feels like it. There should be Contracts that applies to both Parties.

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    Effectively they now have that in Scotland since December 2017, but this has been accompanied by almost instant rent increases of around 30% on the first renewal after that and 5 to 10% annual increases ever since for the most desirable properties.

    Fixed term tenancies, freely agreed by both parties have been outlawed and tenants can leave any time on 28 days notice - so effectively they can have a 29 day tenancy and landlords can do nothing about it, other than refuse to rent to those with a history of frequent tenancy changes. Landlords have very limited options for repossession.

    This also plays havoc with joint tenancy agreements where effectively one joint tenant wanting to stay on can hold the others hostage as all tenants must unanimously agree to end the joint tenancy and there is no compulsory or previously agreed end date.

    Of course those really paying the penalty are those decent tenants who would otherwise willingly have agreed a reasonable long but fixed term tenancy and stuck to its terms.

    Yet again, lefties shouting for "tenants' rights" are only protecting the rogues at the expense of the many decent tenants forced to pay the higher market rents due to the higher risk now borne by Scottish landlords.

     
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    • 17 February 2021 16:19 PM

    Robert - I will take the INSTANT 30% rent increase anytime.

     
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    David

    I'm not so sure. Losing the right to get rid of pests after an agreed initial fixed term needs quite a rent hike to compensate for it, which the market s et at 30% or so for the best properties initially and 5 to 10% per annum from then on.

    We're living with it, but I can see the time coming when some well built guys might be asked to help tenants out with their belongings in return for voluntarily giving notice in writing!

     
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    Students haven't wasted the money - it's a grant given to pay their rent, not their own money

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    Tax payer money, but in their sad little minds they are of course '' entitled ''

     
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