Accommodation Update

We are aware that many of you have questions about housing in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and it's important that you aware of your rights and responsibilities. We've been working to lobby landlords/housing organisations to support students during this time. You can find information about this work below. To find out the up to date position of your housing provider you should check their webpages directly. Please note the advice on this page may change, particularly if there are changes to the law. If you have questions you can contact our Advice Service at: suadvice@leedsbeckett.ac.uk. Please email a copy of your tenancy agreement when asking for advice on your contractual responsibilities.

 

Contact Advice Service FAQs

 

Halls Providers

Provider Contacted? Current COVID-19 stance
IQ Student Yes Clear guidance/updates on Coronavirus on their website. Confirmed that students who have left their IQ home, or will not be staying for the Summer term AND pay their rent directly to IQ, will not be charged for the remainder of their current tenancy. effective from 18th April 2020 if you let them know 5 PM Thursday 9th April.
Fresh Student Living Yes In active discussions with their 30 landlords across the UK and Ireland to ascertain if there are any changes to their existing cancellation policies. If landlords are able to make special arrangements they are getting in touch directly with each student concerned. Clear guidance here.
Vita Student Yes Clear health and wellbeing guidance given on website alongside updates from Vita. No information about tenancy/contract release on website. They did however respond to the email sent by LBSU saying 95% of their occupation is International Students, with the vast majority still remaining. They have confirmed to us via an email response that they are unable to offer refunds to students who move out before their contracted end date. 
Iconinc Yes Clear health and rent payment guidance on website. Students who move out early due to COVID-19 cannot be released from their tenancies and students are still expected to pay rent -  links students to guidance from Money Advice Service.
YPP Yes No health guidance on website. No information about releasing students from tenancies or rent payment assistance on website.
Campus Living Villages Yes Clear health guidance on website. Communications received for Burley Road state that CLV are currently planning to only defer rent payments.
Unite Students Yes Clear health guidance and FAQs on wesbite. Unite Students confirmed if you're not planning to stay in your Unite Accommodation for your third term, then you will not have to pay your outstanding rental payment, more info can be found here.
Unipol Yes Clear and up to date guidance can be found on their website.

 

Private Landlords & Letting Agents

Provider Contacted? Current COVID-19 stance
Your Nest Yes Following government guidelines on social distancing in their working practices. Your Nest has also asked tenants to get in touch if they have any issues paying rent, which they are dealing with on a case by case basis. 
Spencer Properties Yes Responded in joint letter from Leeds Property Association. The letter details that rent is still due as normal within contracted periods, however they ask that any tenant who is having problems paying rent to contact them directly for advice and guidance. They will take a sensitive and reasoned approach and where possible will put a payment plan in place and other special arrangements if neccesscary.
Rent Inc Yes Following social distancing advice. They are still making Tenants pay rent, but are asking tenants to contact them if they are having difficulty paying rent, with a payment plan scheme in place. Full FAQ page here.
Avtar Yes Following social distancing guidelines but have no information on their website for tenants struggling to pay rent.
Stonehouse Properties Yes No response
Springwell Yes Springwell are still open and are following government and industry-specific guidelines regarding social distancing. While the offices are closed, their emails and phone lines are being monitored constantly. Viewings are taking place virtually where possible, and only emergency maintenance is currently being undertaken. Tenants who are struggling to make rent payments are encouraged to get in touch as soon as possible.
DEU Estates Yes Responded in joint letter from Leeds Property Association. The letter details that rent is still due as normal within contracted periods, however they ask that any tenant who is having problems paying rent to contact them directly for advice and guidance. They will take a sensitive and reasoned approach and where possible will put a payment plan in place and other special arrangements if neccesscary 
Sugarhouse Properties Yes Enaging with students who are experiencing financial difficulties. Working with landlords to create payment holidays/payment plans for students in financial hardship. Supporting the wellbeing of tenants through ongoing communications. Any tenant facing hardship is advised to contact them directly.
Headingley Property Services Yes Encouraging all tenants to follow government advice on COVID-19. States that rent remains payable in full as scheduled and that contracts are fixed term and are not being altered. They say that if your student loan does not cover your final rent installment and you're struggling to pay please get in touch and they can sort out a payment plan- this would only only be postponing part payment and would not reduce amount owed.
Apex Homes Yes No response
Ashfield Properties Yes Responded in joint letter from Leeds Property Association. The letter details that rent is still due as normal within contracted periods, however they ask that any tenant who is having problems paying rent to contact them directly for advice and guidance. They will take a sensitive and reasoned approach and where possible will put a payment plan in place and other special arrangements if neccesscary 
Central Properties Yes No response
Big Blue Lettings Yes No response
Homes and Co Yes No response
Let Leeds Yes Following social distancing guidelines, but not offering any help to tenants unable to pay their rent. Full information.
MHS Lettings Yes No response
Oasis Properties Yes Offices are closed so fully adhering to the social distancing arrangements and when they are allowed to re-open, they will be strictly adhering to the social distancing advice. With regards to rent, they absolutely understand that this is a very difficult time for all of our tenants and appreciate that there will be some tenants who will find it difficult to pay. They will have to look at each situation on a case by case basis and in any event in all cases they can be flexible with how the rent comes in and look to arrange payment plans and a sensitive and reasoned approach in those cases where it is needed.
Red Door Lets Yes Contacted all tenants in early March to provide them with an update on our working practice and have continued to provide tenants with regular updates including a FAQ sheet for additional information. Rental is still due as normal within contracted periods, however they are asking any tenant who is having problems paying or is undergoing financial difficulty to contact us to discuss. They are looking into this in a case by case basis and taking a sensitive and reasoned approach in creating payment plans and other special arrangements if neccessacary.
Unique Leeds Yes No response
Parklane Properties Yes Following social distancing advice. They are still making Tenants pay rent, but are asking tenants to contact them if they are having difficulty paying rent, with a payment plan scheme in place. Full FAQ page here.
Red Brick Properties Yes Health guidelines are on the website and they are asking tenants to contact them if they are unable to pay rent.
Pickards Yes Full page of advice on their website. They are asking tenants to get in touch if they are worried about paying rent, and will "assess each tenants' situation". 
Rooftop Living Yes No health guidance on website. No information about releasing students from tenancies or rent payment assistance on website.
Lingard Bell Yes Contacted all tenants personally in early March with information on response to COVID-19. They are actively supporting tenants who have contracted COVID-19. Final term rents have been waived for tenants who have returned home and those remaining are paying only half of their final term rent.
Diamond Propeties Yes They are currently advising tenants they are contracted till the 30th June and have to pay rent, however if students/guarantor are facing hardship due to the current situation they will look into each case and look to setup a payment plan.
RMP Properties Yes Following social distancing guidelines and the team are working remotely from home. We contacted all tenants in March to assess their situation and review our practices accordingly. Any difficulties paying rent can be discussed on an individual basis, flexibility and/or payment plans are available but must be confirmed in writing

 

FAQs

 
 

What has the Students’ Union been doing about getting Private Landlords/Estate Agents to release students living in their private properties if they have moved out already?

 

The Students’ Union Officer team have been lobbying private landlords to support students during this time. You can see a list of accommodation providers contacted and their responses above. We are now encouraging students to contact their landlords on an individual basis to ask for rent reductions or payment plans where they are struggling to pay their rent. You can find out top tips for doing this here. You can also find a more detailed template letter here. This site includes more information about what Students' Unions in Leeds are doing about Rent Relief and how you can get involved.

 

 
 

Do I still have to pay for my accommodation even though I have moved out?

 

The law governing tenancy agreements complex and is unlikely to change regarding ending tenancies in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, and unless your landlord agrees to a change you are still contractually obligated to pay your rent. You will need to check to see if your tenancy agreement has a break clause. Please be mindful most tenancy agreements do not have break clauses in them, and you can only use a break clause if every tenant on the agreement wants to move out. Check yours carefully to see if it does. If it does contact the Students’ Union Advice Service for more information.

If you are living in private rented accommodation, the Students' Union Advice Service has a Top Tips document for getting in touch with your landlord to ask them if they are able to release you from your contract, reduce your rent or let you pay over an extended period of time. You can find guidance on writing to your landlord here. You can also find a more detailed template letter here. This site includes more information about what Students' Unions in Leeds are doing about Rent Relief and how you can get involved.

 

 
 

What happens if I’ve moved out before the end of my tenancy and don’t pay my rent?

 

The landlord may take action to get the rent from you, or from your guarantor if you have one. They may take some of this money from your deposit. If the amount you owe them exceeds your deposit, they may write to you to formally request the money. You might be charged interest on the amount owing which should not exceed 3% above the bank of England base Rate. If you still don’t pay, they may start a court claim against you.

 

 
 

I can’t afford my rent payments due to COVID-19. What should I do?

 

Contact your landlord as soon as possible. The published government advice states that as part of our national effort to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important that landlords offer support and understanding to tenants whose income level may change.

An early conversation can help both you and your landlord to agree a plan. This can include reaching a temporary agreement to accept a lower level of rent, or agree a plan to pay off arrears at a later date. If a plan is agreed, then it is important that both you and the landlord stick to this plan. Those in financial difficulties can contact the University Money Support Team.

The Students Union Advice Service has a Top Tips documents for getting in touch with your landlord to ask them if they are able to release you from your contract, reduce your rent or let you pay over an extended period of time. You can find guidance on writing to your landlord here. You can also find a more detailed template letter here. This site includes more information about what Students' Unions in Leeds are doing about Rent Relief and how you can get involved.

 

 
 

I can’t afford my rent payments due to COVID-19. Can I be evicted?

 

The government has announced a package of measures to protect renters and landlords affected by coronavirus. As a result, no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this difficult time.

At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.

You can read the full statement here.

 

 
 

My Rent is bills included. Do I still need to pay the full amount?

 

You will remain liable for the utility bills until the end of your tenancy agreement. If your rent includes an amount for bills you could ask the landlord/agent to reduce your rent amount if you will not be staying in the property (and they do not agree to end your tenancy early). It is the landlord’s choice whether they allow this. If they agree then ask them to take a picture of current meter reading, then a closing read to show what has been used. There is usually a standing charge for all supplies even if the property is empty. You can find a detailed template letter here. This site includes more information about what Students' Unions in Leeds are doing about Rent Relief and how you can get involved.

 

 
 

I have already left my accommodation. Do I need to let anyone know?

 

Generally, tenancy agreements state that tenants should let the landlord/agent know if they are going to be away. If you have this written into your contract it is your responsibility to do this.

 

 
 

I am a lodger and my landlord has asked me to leave. What are my rights?

 

If you are a lodger and you live with your landlord, you are an 'excluded occupier'. This means your landlord doesn't have to apply to the court to evict you. The newly announced suspension on evictions in the courts is unlikely to prevent you from being evicted. Your landlord can ask you to leave at the end of your fixed-term agreement. They can ask you to leave earlier than this agreement if the contract says they can.

If your agreement doesn't set out a notice period, you should be entitled to 'reasonable' notice. This is usually a week if you pay your rent weekly, or a month if you pay your rent monthly.
In practice, it can be quite difficult to challenge an eviction with a live-in landlord though. We would suggest you contact us for advice if this is happening to you.
 

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