Rent strikes to continue next term at Royal Holloway

Despite the University offering rent concessions to some students

A rent strike at Royal Holloway is set to continue in Term Three, despite the University removing accommodation fees for eligible students who apply.

Eligible students include those who live in university-owned accommodation and are not living in their room until 31st March.

The organisers of the strike say that these concessions do not go far enough.

“Students still aren’t allowed to cancel their contracts, if they so wish, and are instead given a month and a half of refund if they are eligible.

“Students who have already returned are not eligible, nor are students who are encouraged to return by government guidelines,” a campaign representative told The Royal Holloway Tab.

“Enough is enough.”

The University first announced rent concessions in early January, in response to the UK’s latest national lockdown to tackle the transmission of a new variant of the virus.

Initially, the University offered the concession from early January to 22nd February but has extended the policy to cover students until 31st March, as the lockdown continues to prevent students from returning to their accommodation.

“To make it easier for our students who are not returning to their on-campus accommodation, we have automatically extended rent removal until 31st March,” a representative from Student and Academic Services at Royal Holloway told The Royal Holloway Tab.

The University also promised a return to hybrid teaching as soon as possible.

“As we begin to see a path out of national lockdown, we want to reaffirm our commitment to offering a mix of face-to-face and online teaching when it is safe to do so.

“It’s too early to confirm details yet, particularly since the course of the pandemic is so uncertain, but we are planning an on-campus experience for the summer term from Monday 26 April, if we are able.

“Once we have clearer guidance from the Government, we will update our students.”

While the organisers of the rent strike at Royal Holloway are dissatisfied with the University’s policy, the College has gone further than other universities, like Bristol, which has only offered its students a 30% reduction from January-February. After 5th February, students are entitled to a full rebate until 26th March.

Private provider, Scape, which operates The Pad and The Podium next to Royal Holloway, has also offered rent concessions to their residents. The firm offered a six-week rent concession to eligible students in January but has not provided any further concessions since.

Another provider, CRM Students, which operates Hox Park, has not offered any concessions to their residents yet. The operator told The Royal Holloway Tab that plans to compensate students are in the works, but they are waiting for the details of a government announcement on Monday. CRM also said that 50% of their residents are still on site.

In January, Royal Holloway also wrote to private landlords to ask them to be as flexible as they can with rental contracts for the remainder of the lockdown period.

The Royal Holloway Tab has contacted Scape for further comment.

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