Further rent reduction and action to improve student accommodation

The University, working together with the Students’ Union, has agreed to give all students in University halls of residences a reduction for semester 1 (Sept 2020 – 31 Jan 2021) totalling 30%. This 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% rent reduction was negotiated by the Students’ Union and endorsed by elected student representatives from across all halls of residence, many of whom had consulted other residents, in discussions with our Students’ Union officers. A majority (more than 90%) supported the proposal.