Leeds unis and SUs join forces with local MP to call on landlords to slash student rent

‘Student loan payments, for many students, are not enough to cover their rental contract alone, as well as living expenses’

Representatives from three Leeds unis and their corresponding students’ unions have joined forces with a local MP to pen a letter to landlords requesting they slash students’ rent in light of the difficulties caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The letter calls on private landlords to offer rent reduction and rebates where possible and to offer release from contracts when the tenant does not plan on returning to property or if they are currently abroad. The signatories also ask landlords to be flexible on rent payment and avoid charging late fees.

The letter was signed by Alex Sobel MP,  Leeds Uni Vice-Chancellor Simone Buitendijk, Leeds Beckett Deputy VC Tracey Lancaster, Leeds Trinity Deputy VC Malcolm Todd, and Students’ Union representatives from all three institutions.

The letter’s demands

While students living in university-owned accommodation have received some financial support, those in private accommodation have been forced to pay for houses to which they are legally not allowed to return.

Without sectors such as the hospitality industry, many students who would have previously used part-time jobs to subsidise their loans, are enduring financial hardship.

“Student loan payments, for many students, are not enough to cover their rental contract alone, as well as living expenses.” The letter reads.

Another section states: “The average annual rent for a purpose built student accommodation room now stands at £6,366, accounting for 73 per cent of the maximum undergraduate student loan outside of London.”

Students receiving below average loans are having to make up a significant proportion of rent and this is without even consideration of living costs. Students on minimum loans will have to make up £2,349 a year just to keep up with rent.

The letter’s signatories are also lobbying the Government to support landlords financially through the ongoing crisis.

Find the full letter and list of signatories here.

Featured Image: Alex Sobel MP (left), Lottie Morton of LUU (centre), and Sophia Hartley of LUU (right)

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