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.
“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."
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