Manchester Rent Strike wins up to £900 rent reduction for all students in halls
They will each get a 30 per cent reduction for semester one’s rent
The University of Manchester group of rent strikers have won a 30 per cent reduction on semester one’s rent for all students living in halls.
Earlier this term, UoM Rent Strike organised at least 215 Manchester freshers to withhold over £307,000 in rent. It is also one of the key groups that has been leading the occupation of Owens Park Tower, which has now ended after almost two weeks.
The university said they had worked with the Students’ Union to agree the figure, which equals “more than four weeks’ rent”.
According to UoM rent strike, the 30 per cent reduction means every student in halls will receive between £600-900 back, costing the university millions and they say is the “biggest win for student rent strikes in the UK”.
This comes after the university released an “accommodation pledge” last week, saying they would give students a two-week rent reduction, which the UoM Rent Strike group called “insulting”.
Regarding the 30 per cent rent reduction, the university said they “will be unable to provide further reductions, but students can decide to break their accommodation contract without financial penalty.”
The rent reduction “will be applied to direct debit payments in January 2021. Students who have paid for accommodation for the whole year will get a refund.”
The full statement from the University of Manchester said: “The University, working together with the Students’ Union, has agreed to give all students in University halls of residences a reduction for semester one (Sept 2020 – 31 Jan 2021) totalling 30 per cent. This is the equivalent to more than four weeks’ rent, and will be provided irrespective of whether students stay in halls over the holiday period or not.
“The increase from the previously announced two-week rent reduction, announced in an accommodation pledge last week (16 Nov), follows detailed discussions between the University, Students’ Union officers and elected student representatives from halls of residence. It acknowledges that the limited availability of some facilities due to national COVID-19 restrictions has had an impact on the student experience and the ongoing uncertainty about the return to campus arrangements in January.
“The meetings also agreed to accelerate, wherever possible, action in other key areas, including: Opening up more social and study spaces in halls, where this can be done in line with COVID-19 guidance; Working together to develop a behaviour pledge, setting out expectations of student conduct in halls of residence during the pandemic; Improvements in the reporting, tracking and resolution of maintenance issues; Working together to enhance safety and security in halls of residence.
“These actions, which will now become part of the accommodation pledge, will deliver improvements in student experience in our halls of residence, many of which will be put in place rapidly, though some will take a bit more time.
“Further regular meetings will be taking place between the University and elected student representatives from halls of residence.
“The University will be unable to provide further reductions, but students can decide to break their accommodation contract without financial penalty.
“The rent reduction will be applied to direct debit payments in January 2021. Students who have paid for accommodation for the whole year will get a refund.
“The offer of a 30 per cent rent reduction was considered by elected student representatives from across all halls of residence, many of whom had consulted other residences, in discussions with our Students’ Union officers. A majority (more than 90 per cent) supported the proposal.”
Featured image via Twitter @BenMcGowan_