What are we doing?
We are supporting calls for rent flexibility for any student renters experiencing hardship right now. For details, please see our Legal page
We are calling on government to intervene and provide financial assistance for accommodation providers, enabling them to provide rebates, reductions and contract releases.
Covid-19 has highlighted the inequalities and failings within the student accommodation sector and we are lobbying the government to address this, and reform student renters' rights.
Lotti spoke to Yorkshire Evening Post about the ways in which student renters have been forgotten by government.
As we approach Easter and the next quarterly rent installment for many, we want to highlight that if you're struggling with rent payments please get in touch with your students' union advice team.
No responses to the letter have been received.
Final signatures gained from Universities and Alex Sobel MP, letter to Leeds private letting agents and landlords. Read the letter here:
Lotti raised issues of rent rebates and the inflexibility of student renters' rights in comparison to that of other tenants with with Labour MPs Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green MP, Tracy Brabin MP Labour Candidate for West Yorkshire Mayor and Emma Hardy MP Shadow Minister for FE and Universities.
Letter drafted by the Officers to thank those landlords who have provided rent relief, and to ask those that haven't to consider doing so. Letter awaiting final signatures.
Sophia, Lotti, Barbara and Pango met with Alex Sobel MP to discuss a wide range of issues, including rent relief and how to lobby government.
We wrote to Unite Students with other SUs across the country to urge them to provide more than a 2 week refund.
Third lockdown was announced and the Rent Relief campaign was restarted by the Unions.
Lotti contacted Leeds City Council about motion to limit rent private providers can set. Cllr Debra Coupar (Executive Board Member for Communities) responded: LCC is constrained by current legislation and has no powers to set rent controls. Agreed to work together to influence government level policy in this area.
New Officer teams came into office and took over the campaign. Focus has been on lobbying for flexibility for renters and the Rent Relief campaign was retired as restrictions eased.
Many testimonials collected that inform our understanding of housing providers' support or lack thereof. Beginning work on a motion to Leeds City Council to limit the rent private providers can set.
Amy met with Fabian Hamilton MP and raised moving weekend uncertainty (alongside financial hardship, highlighting the average weekly rent costs and to ask for PMQs to be raised about the loss of the maintenance grant).
Email sent to the CEO of Leeds City Council to ask for clarity on moving weekend restrictions, highlighted average weekly rent costs.
Update: FAQs for housing and moving day now available.
We have also written to Christopher Pincher MP, Housing Minister, to ask for clarity on the imminent moving day. View it below:
From Cllr Illingworth's response: "One thing that I can advise is to make use of the Leeds City Council’s help line on 0113 378 1877. This is for two reasons: (1) some students may be eligible for significant help, and (2) this is an effective way of signalling to the Council where more support is needed."
Cllr Garthwaite acknowledged that while LCC and the Universities recommend flexibility, they cannot enforce it as the contract is a legally binding document but will discuss with colleagues on possible routes forward.
Cllr Brooks responded in support and highlighted our concerns to the executive member for Housing chair of Development Plans Panel (in relation to Purpose Built Student Accommodation costs).
Cllr Marshall-Katung reassured us that landlords should not be sending out eviction letters at this time following the governments' legislation.
Cllr Bentley is taking our concerns to the Environment and Housing Scrutiny Board which meets next week.
Letter was sent to:
Councillors Judith Blake, Rebecca Charlwood, Debra Coupar, Al Garthwaite, Jonathan Pryor, Neil Walshaw, Hannah Bithell, John Illingworth, Fiona Venner, Javaid Akhtar, Kayleigh Brooks, Abigail Marshall-Katung, Jonathan Bentley, Chris Howley and Christine Knight.
We wrote to Leeds City Council to support our campaign for student rent relief. We wrote to 15 Councillors on the 5th May, setting out what we're asking for, which is primarily around encouraging landlords to take up Mortgage Holidays to allow them to provide flexibility:
Further support: ACORN
ACORN is a member-led campaigning organisation supporting & empowering low-income communities across the country to fight for a better life. They've supported a number of students recently seeking contract terminations & rent reductions. You can view their website here, or write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org for further support with housing issues.