Revealed: Manchester Rent Strike won almost £11 million for students across the year

Rent Strikers promise to continue ‘to hold this uni and its management accountable for as long as they fail to do so themselves’


Update: A university spokesperson has told The Manchester Tab since the January estimate they now believe the total to be closer to £10.8 million.

The Manchester Rent Strike won close to £11 million in rent rebates for students this past year.

An estimate in January by the University of Manchester board of governors had put the total rent reductions for students in the past year at £21 million.

The Manchester Tab has now seen figures by the university which put the total at £10.8 million.

The first rebate was a 30 per cent reduction for all students in uni-owned halls for semester one and this was estimated by the uni to have cost £5.3 million.

Rent strikers occupied The Owens Park Tower for two weeks

The second reduction came when students were unable to return to their halls after the Christmas break due to lockdown restrictions. Students who couldn’t return didn’t pay any rent up until the day of their return. This was estimated to have cost the uni £5.5 million.

Both reductions came after pressure from a successful campaign by UoM Rent Strike who organised hundreds of Manchester students to withold their rent payments and occupied the Owens Park Tower for two weeks.

A spokesperson for the Rent Strike said: “We already knew this was the biggest student rent strike win in UK history but this news has showed the scale was even bigger than we’d thought.

“Manchester students proved this year that when the uni treats them like cashcows and puts profit over welfare, they’re not willing to just sit there and take it anymore.

“We know this is still just the start and look forward to continuing to hold this uni and its management accountable for as long as they fail to do so themselves.”

A University spokesperson said: “We are taking the welfare of our students extremely seriously during these unprecedented times, and have taken a series of actions to reduce their rent payments during the pandemic. All students in our halls of residence received a 30% reduction in rent for the whole of Semester 1 this academic year.

“Additionally, those who did not return to their accommodation following the national lockdown announcement on 5 January were not charged until the end of the lockdown period, or the date that they returned to their accommodation.

“We also made a non-repayable rent contribution of £500 to 600 students in private accommodation, which came from additional government funding. Students in residences were also able to break their accommodation agreement, clear their rooms and hand back keys during term-time in the 2020/21 academic year without receiving any financial penalty. The University’s rental income for the year will be reduced by more than £10 million as a result of these actions.”

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