QUB Freshers have been offered waived rent if they live in Elms

The move has been praised as Covid-19 cases increase across campus

Queen’s University Belfast have announced that students residing in managed halls of residence can move home and will not be charged for rent for three months, in a further attempt to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 across campus.

The move is a positive one, after reports emerged last week that nearly 400 staff and students were self isolating. It is understood that many of these cases were in the Elms BT9 Halls on the Malone Road.

A spokesperson for the university said; “Our student accommodation remains a safe and welcoming environment and the University has put in place extensive measures to support the minority of students who have been asked to self-isolate”.

They added that measurements have been made to ensure tenant satisfaction as the fight against the pandemic continues across Northern Ireland. They said that, “…despite this [student’s self isolating] we recognise that this semester a small proportion of students may decide that they would prefer to complete the online elements of their studies from home and/or commute for study.

The Elms BT9 halls have had a number of students self isolating. However, it can be revealed that students who wish to move home for the rest of semester one can do so if they wish. Image: Google

“In these circumstances, the University will agree to pause their contractual obligations for the remainder of the semester so they do not have to pay rent between 9 October and 9 January. If asked to self-isolate, students will also not be charged rent for the initial 14 day period”.

This is the first time affirmative action over such a matter has taken place. At the beginning of the national lockdown when many students were placed in the should I stay on campus or go home scenario, multiple calls to waive rent were of no avail unless in halls of residence or privately managed halls.

Speaking to The Belfast Tab, first year Psychology student Rachel Ward who moved home, praised the move, describing it as a “refreshing” move from QUB.

She said; “Paying the same fees for substandard levels of teaching as well as accommodation which was barely required [due to the lack of parties due to a number of tenants self isolating]’.

Rachel added that being a fresher this year, Covid-19 has put a “massive dampener” on many aspects of university life. She said that the gesture to wave rent from Elms was however, much appreciated in response to the amount of tenants isolating.

Queen’s University Belfast remains the only institution on the island of Ireland, still conducting face to face teaching.