COVID-19 Rent Relief Campaign

This joint campaign began in Spring 2020 to help deal with the issue of student tenancies and renter hardship in the private sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was retired in the summer as tenancies ended and restrictions were lifted, but the current officers have restarted the campaign in response to the third lockdown.

We know many of you have lost income from casual employment and have been failed by Government hardship schemes, and are now having to pay rent on houses that in some cases you're no longer living in and may not be returning to. We no longer get the maintenance grant and yet average weekly rents for shared houses is around £100 per week/purpose built £130 - that's £5,200 to £6,760 per year – many students receive less than £5,000 Student Finance.

This site is split up into six parts - details of our campaign, a template letter to write to your landlord to ask for rent relief, and an updates page for Leeds landlords and providers, a place for you to tell us about your current experiences, legal info, and some house hunting advice too.

Leeds University Union

Leeds Beckett Student Union

Leeds Trinity Student Union

Find out more about:

Leeds student testimonials

"I emailed them about my situation and asked about potentially getting a reduction - any would have been fine. They replied with a potential monthly payment plan - which, as it turns out would have me paying MORE overall..."

"...took no consideration for us (many of who work over holidays to earn rent but couldn’t and weren’t on the furlough scheme). They didn’t take this into consideration, offer us any relief or delay. We haven’t been in the house since lockdown started, nor do we think we will go back until we move out and overall we were just very disappointed that they didn’t have any sympathy for us, and didn’t contact the person who owns the property to see if he would consider relief..."

"Still charging us for our bills package even though we are not using anything..."

"We were told that we have signed a contract, and as our student loan is still coming in (which some of us don't even have, and even so it does not cover the rent costs) then we should have no reason to not be able to afford rent."

"Rent is due in full but repairs not carried out."

"We approached them with a request to put us in contact with our landlord in order to discuss a potential rent decrease in line with other landlords in our area. They refused. We asked them to forward on a letter to the landlord, which they agreed to. However, they read the letter and upon seeing it mentioned a rent decrease they refused to forward it on and told us and our guarantors to apply for government funding via the furlough scheme or to apply for Universal Credit. As none of this is available to us they have told us that we must each, including guarantors, submit an income/expenditure sheet to them before they will talk to the landlord."

"Told us we wouldn’t get any relief as “we still get our loans” even though they don’t cover our house rent and we are all unemployed and not getting furlough pay, we also still pay our electricity bill for an empty house which also has many things wrong with it."

We are here to help

If you are facing financial difficulties or want personalised help and advice on negotiating with your landlord, please get in touch with your Union using the contact details below.