Rent strikers at Queen Mary blocked from receiving rent discounts
They have not been offered the 30 per cent discount offered to other students
Students at QMUL halls of residence involved in recent rent strikes are reportedly being excluded from the discounts that other students are being offered by the university in response to disruption caused by the pandemic.
Queen Mary has offered a 30 per cent discount for two terms of rent, alongside a £1,000 rebate for anyone unable to return to their accommodation.
To be eligible for discounted rent, students must apply online and ensure any outstanding rent payments have been fulfilled. Over 350 students at Queen Mary took part in rent strikes, all of whom are now ineligible for these discounts.
Queen Mary University Rent Strike campaign are claiming that this is a deliberate choice to “crackdown on rent striking as a form of protest”.
They said: “The situation is littered with inconsistencies. First they said that deadlines were flexible, and now they are punishing us for simply protesting. We have agreed to pay now but they are making us pay amounts we simply cannot afford, and we can’t even contact them about it.”
Queen Mary University Rent Strike campaign have gone on to say that they will challenge the University’s decision.
Students across London universities and the country have been rent striking this academic year. In term two, students from UCL, Queen Mary, UAL, Goldsmiths, KCL and LSE all participated in such strikes, and in Bristol, Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham, rent strikes have led to discounts on rent.
Many students have been unable to return to their accommodation this academic year due to Covid-19 government guidelines, despite still having to pay for unused rooms. The National Union of Students estimates students have spent £1 billion on empty rooms during the pandemic.
A spokesperson for the university said: “In response to the national lockdown the Government introduced in January, Queen Mary offered all students in University accommodation a 30 per cent reduction on the remaining two terms of their rent agreement.
“Following the Government’s decision not to allow all students to return to on-campus education in March, we offered a further £1,000 reduction in rent to students who were unable to return.
“Both rent reduction schemes had application deadlines, and we were as flexible as possible with students in our residences wishing to apply for the schemes at the time. The schemes have now both been closed for some time.”