University of Manchester uses bailiffs to evict rent strikers from the Simon building in 5am raid

Student strikers were forcibly carried out

Bailiffs have forcibly removed student rent strikers from the Simon building on UoM’s campus.

The eviction took place this morning at 5:21am, as bailiffs arrived with a court order to remove the students from the building. Videos shared to social media show students lying on the floor in a refusal to leave and crowds outside chanting in solidarity with the rent strikers.

In the end, bailiffs resorted to carrying and dragging the student strikers out. Manchester Rent Strike has said “nobody was arrested and [the group] aren’t being made to pay fines”. National Eviction Team, the company which carried out the eviction, has been approached for comment.

This comes just two days after Manchester High Court granted UoM a possession order over Simon, which students have been occupying since mid-February as part of their dispute with the university over what they see as “sky high rents” and “piss poor accommodation”.

Reactions to the eviction have been scathing, with the National Union of Students saying it was “disgusted but not surprised” by the “brutal eviction” and that the university was “wasting students’ money” by employing the private bailiffs.

Manchester Rent Strike equally slammed the university. “Shame on University of Manchester that they would rather do this than consider basic demands for affordable rent,” the group said.

Still, the university has defended its decision to evict the students. A spokesperson for the University of Manchester said: “This morning officers of the High Court attended the Simon Building to enforce a court order, following a small group of students who had been illegally occupying rooms there since 13 February 2023.

“This action follows multiple requests to those occupying the building to leave, and court hearing papers being served on the occupiers on 15 March 2023.  The Court granted the University a possession order on Monday, and copies of the order were served to the occupiers.

“We very much regret having to do this, but the situation has been going on for a significant amount of time and has caused ongoing disruption to students and the people who work in the building.”

Manchester Rent Strike has vowed to continue its fight for its demands to be met, and has called for more students to cancel their direct debits to the university before the next rent payment installation. It remains to be seen whether this will lead to further protests or whether the university will take steps to address the concerns of its students.

National Eviction Team has been approached for comment. 

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