Your Officer Team is here to make sure your voices are being heard at the highest levels in the university and beyond, as well as to represent your collective interests, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with them if you’re not sure where to turn.
Read the full Officer Statement
At present there have not yet been any changes to the law 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 your agreement does contain a break clause, contact the Students’ Union Advice Service for more information.
If you are living in private rented accommodation, the Students’ Union Advice Service has a factsheet with helpful information 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 a factsheet with helpful information [ insert link] for guidance on writing to your landlord.
The landlord may take action to recover 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. These fees should not exceed 3% above the bank of England base rate. If you still don’t pay, your landlord may start a court claim against you.
If your landlord starts court action against you for unpaid rent, this is not a criminal trial or a criminal offence, and you won’t get a criminal record. You will be asked to attend court, and if you don't attend, the hearing will go ahead in your absence. If the judge decides you should have paid the money, you will be asked to pay it as part of the judgement. You may also be asked to pay the landlord's court costs.
If you still don’t pay the money after the court has decided you should, you may receive a further judgement that can negatively affect your credit rating in the UK. This may make it difficult for you to borrow money or pass reference checks for rented accommodation in the UK in the future.
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.
See here for our advice on how to write to your landlord to request help or adjustments to your tenancy.
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 living in the property (and they do not agree to end your tenancy early). It is the landlord’s decision as to whether they agree to reduce the amount paid for utilities.
"We believe that students have been getting a raw deal throughout the pandemic, seemingly treated as an afterthought by the government in terms of the impact that restrictions have had on them, and support (or lack of) that has been made available. One of the areas in which students have struggled the most has been their experiences with their accommodation, and it is entirely unsatisfactory that many students are still not being compensated for having to pay for accommodation they cannot access.
However, we are also aware of the differing financial positions, ability and willingness to reimburse students across the range of accommodation providers, be it University-owned, private halls providers or private landlords. For this reason, we believe that the best way to achieve fair and consistent compensation for students is for the government to intervene, with a financial package that provides for full reimbursement for the time students have not been able to occupy their accommodation due to lockdown restrictions or travel windows. We have joined the national campaign led by the National Union of Students (NUS) to lobby the government on this issue.
More locally we will continue to lobby for rent rebates from accommodation providers and private landlords, as in the absence of government intervention, any rebates we can achieve for students will be small victories.
The University will not be offering refunds or offering discounted tuition fees to all students as standard.
"We, at Leeds Beckett Students’ Union hear and understand your frustrations. We know many of you are committed in fighting tuition fees to create a more accessible education system, particularly in this time where University may not be what you expected. Some of you have communicated that don’t feel as though you’re meeting your learning outcomes, and to report this we recommend getting in touch with your course reps to feed this back, alternatively you can submit feedback online here at any time in the year.
Additionally, you can submit a complaint to the University.
It’s important you know that your Students’ Union believes that it is the Government’s responsibility to offer compensation to students, rather than the University. We believe it is productive to lobby the Government for a reimbursement of fees, this is because Government hold power and influence by requiring University to charge fees, thus contributing to the marketisation of education. We believe it would be unsustainable to ask the University to refund student tuition as this could cause a serious financial impact. We’re lobbying the Government to ensure you still have a University so you can learn, create a community and achieve your potential throughout and after this pandemic is over. You deserve better."
If something on your course isn’t quite right, try contacting your course team first to see if it’s something that can be easily improved. You should also speak to your Course Rep at this point, especially if a number of your course mates are experiencing similar issues – with our support, your Course Rep will be able to make sure your concerns are addressed at the right level.
To find out who your Course Rep is, visit the Find My Course Rep tool.
Depending on the size of the course, you may not have a Course Rep. If you can't find your rep let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll check for you.
You can also submit feedback online here.
We would still urge anyone struggling to complete their assessments to submit individual requests for extenuating circumstances. It is important that you submit any Extenuating Circumstances application before your assessment deadlines. You are strongly advised to speak to an adviser at the Students’ Union Advice Service before completing the form so they can advise you on how to present your circumstances.