UCL reinstates their rent guarantor scheme
They had suspended it earlier this year
UCL has announced they will be reinstating their rent guarantor scheme after suspending it in June. When the suspension was announced it meant that from September 2020 students would not be able to have UCL as a guarantor for their accommodation for the coming academic year.
Many students complained about the loss of the scheme because it was of vital importance to assure they had accommodation in the coming academic year.
Following on from feedback and concerns about the effects this would have on students, UCL has decided to reinstate the rent guarantor scheme (effective since Thursday 27th August 2020). Whilst this is good news, it comes with a caveat. The newly re-opened scheme will have more restrictive eligibility criteria and T&Cs.
What is the scheme and how does it work?
After living in UCL provided accomodation in first year, a large majority of UCL students move into privately rented properties for the remaining duration of their degrees. Before securing a property, the landlord will require tenants to fulfil one of the following options:
- The tenants must provide a UK based guarantor (either a parent/guardian who earns above a certain amount or an organisation that offers a rent guarantor scheme). If the tenants default on their rent payment, the guarantor agrees to pay the rent.
- If no guarantor can be provided, the tenants must pay a lump sum of rent in advance (usually 6 months rent).
The rent guarantor scheme, provided by the UCL Accommodation Office, therefore proves to be very popular among full-time UCL students, especially EU and international students who cannot provide a UK based guarantor otherwise. If a student is unable to pay their rent, the scheme means that the university will pay the rent once notified. The student will then be invoiced by the university and will subsequently pay them back.
Deciding where to live:
When it comes down to finding a place to live, London can be quite expensive depending on the area. To make things easier, the Students’ Union has created a map of central London, indicating the average weekly rent for each area.
This map, along with more information can be found on the ‘Finding Accommodation’ page of the UCL Students’ Union website.
Eligibility criteria for the new scheme:
As mentioned previously, the reinstated scheme has updated eligibility criteria and T&Cs. Some criteria are new, whereas some criteria are a continuation of the previous scheme. They are as follows, according to the ‘UCL Rent Guarantor Scheme’ page:
• The student must be a UCL student over the age of 18.
• The student must “not have any outstanding debt to UCL” and “not have access to a UK based guarantor” already.
• The student must “have a clean disciplinary record of living in UCL halls (or provide references from landlords) where applicable” and “not have any record of inappropriate behaviour or have been the subject of a serious behaviour incident at UCL”.
• “Evidence of funding to maintain the rent payments for the duration of the tenancy” must be provided by the student.
• The properties must be situated in the M25 with a weekly rent of no higher than £250 per student.
• The tenancy “must be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy” for a maximum of 52 weeks.
• There is also a £50 application fee per student, which is paid after your application for the rent guarantor scheme has been approved.
Students can now get access to an online application form to fill in once they have found a property, but prior to signing the tenancy agreement. The form, along with more details about eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, relevant documents required to apply, landlord information and FAQs can be accessed here.