A Labour MP has written to private landlords asking for a rent reduction or release from a tenancy for students prevented from using their accommodation because of Coronavirus restrictions.
Preet Kaur, MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, is one of five signatories of a letter addressed to “Birmingham Landlords”.
It says that as a result of the restrictions there are many students paying for private accommodation they cannot use. It adds that those accommodation units managed directly by the city’s universities have provided rent rebates, but the letter acknowledges this may not be possible for all private rental properties.
However, it then calls on landlords to offer one of three options:
“A full or partial rent rebate: Any rebate would be appreciated by students who are unable to return to their accommodation until the government announces it is safe to do so. We ask for landlords who offer all inclusive rents to particularly think about refunding students for the services they have not used.
“A longer payment schedule: For some students who are worried they are running out of money, offering them a longer time to pay the rent they owe could be very beneficial.
“Early release from contract: While not all students want this option, if it is at all possible for you to release students from their contracts, we ask that you offer to do so.”
Later in the letter it says to landlords: “For those students who are trying to protect communities … by following government guidelines to stay at home, we ask you to show your support by being flexible to their requests.”
The letter is signed by Kaur, plus two Labour members of Birmingham city council, and two student representatives of the city’s Guild of Students.
In recent days some purpose built student accommodation suppliers have announced rent rebates or reductions over the periods students have been unable to occupy their accommodation.