Page:UBU Letter to Purpose Built Student Accommodation Providers

UBU Letter to Purpose Built Student Accommodation Providers

Thursday 02-04-2020 - 12:49

ALSO SEE OUR LETTER TO LOCAL MP'Shttps://www.bradfordunisu.co.uk/articles/ubu-letter-to-local-mp-s-students-in-rented-accommodation

Dear providers of Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA),

As lead representatives of Bradford’s Students, it is our duty to amplify the concerns of our student community and ensure their voice is heard at a time of national crisis and uncertainty.

High amongst students’ concerns is the issue of rent payments and the uncertainty presented due to Coronavirus developments and Government restrictions.

Across the country, following University & Government advice, students have been returning home where they can sustainably and supportively live with their immediate family — both for their personal wellbeing, and as instructed in the national interest.

In following such guidance, students now face increasing uncertainty as to where they stand in relation to their rent payments. Many have lost their part-time jobs. Some will have extra financial contributions to make to the family homes where they are now consuming extra energy. Yet many will still be paying for term-time accommodation and services that they cannot use.

Others, particularly International Students, find themselves effectively trapped, far from their natural support networks, and with an uncertain future as the period of their intended study may be coming close to ending. The Home Office intends to be understanding in regard to visas, and we would expect landlords to be similarly understanding that these students may need ongoing accommodation.

We are calling on all PBSA providers in the city to support their loyal past and future customers by voluntarily enacting four measures outlined below:

  1. Every student landlord should offer a no-penalty release from tenancy contracts for the current and next academic year.
     
  2. Where rent has already been taken for the future, this should be refunded, alongside the deposit.
     
  3. Expanding on the Government’s ban on evictions for all renters during the crisis, landlords should also make provision for extending accommodation for those students who may still need somewhere to live after their tenancy ends, if the restrictions are still in place or impacting them at that time. This will particularly apply to International Students.
     
  4. For rent to be significantly reduced or waived for those tenants who have been financially impacted by the Coronavirus. We are facing a global crisis on a scale of which has not been seen for generations. We believe that the financial difficulties should be taken on by those who have the ability to do so — the shock should not be absorbed by students. This means we are calling for support and solidarity from companies with substantial property assets, that have mitigation potential far greater than the students have.

All this is why, alongside our call for you all to voluntarily enact these measures, the National Union of Students are calling on Government to support you, the providers, to do this.

Following on from Unite and Liberty Living’s welcome announcement on 24th March, it is evident that other landlords and managers have the ability to do this as PBSA providers. We hope that you will join this direction of travel in good faith.

We are speaking on behalf of thousands of students across Bradford, and in concert with hundreds of thousands of students around the country. Some of these will be in your properties outside Bradford. Some may yet come to Bradford for further study. It is certain that students will remember with gratitude which providers have treated them fairly and kindly, and this is sure to be of great benefit to your business when everyone will be trying to rebuild their businesses after the crisis abates.

Student anxiety is at an all-time high and we hope you will do everything in your power to address these concerns. We will be happy to help you to communicate your offering to the tenants who may have already vacated to their families.

We hope that you share this letter with your boards. We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours Sincerely,

Samera Shabir – Student Affairs Officer

Ayman Malik – Education Officer

Zain Ul Abdin – Sports and Wellbeing Officer

Awais Ahmed – Community and Activities Officer

 

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