Menu

Accommodation

Your SU believes that no student because of the Covid-19 pandemic, should be expected to pay their term 3 rent if they have moved out of accommodation following advice from the University to keep themselves and others safe. Unlike private rental accommodation, students living in specialist purpose-built accommodation or live in a shared house do not have the same protection as those living in a private rental house. Our accommodation campaign is aimed at persuading all accommodation providers and landlords to terminate contracts if students have already left their accommodation and allow students to surrender their contracts so they can safely return home without worrying about payment for a room they cannot use.

Your SU is working incredibly hard to make change happen and put pressure on landlords and management of PBSAs so students can surrender their contracts early without penalty. Your President: Wellbeing, Helder Costa, has sent open letters to Sunderland Central MP, Julie Elliot, local Councillors and to management of PBSAs. We’re also applying pressure to the University to ask them to help too. However, you can also take action and support the campaign.

Write to your landlord/accommodation provider

As a student, you can directly write to your landlord or PBSA management team by using our email template HERE. Simply add in their details and send it to them. The more students who do this, the greater the movement and ability to lobby. 

Write to your local MP

As a student, parent or supporter, you can write (using the template HERE) to Sunderland Central MP, Julie Elliot, or to your local MP and ask for greater student protection and for the Government to make changes to legislation and contract rules so students can surrender their contracts if they no longer live in the property.

Mythbusters you can use

Many landlords have responded to students to say that student loans are still being paid, therefore they rents must be paid. Although true, the reality is that not all students, EU and International students in particular, will receive payments. Additionally, student loans do not aways cover full rent amounts. We have developed a mythbusters page which explains how students are financially affected by Covid-19 and how much funding is actually available.

Marks Out of Tenancy (MOOT)

Marks Out of Tenancy or MOOT is your opportunity to review your accommodation provider/landlord, property and area. Through sharing experiences, both positive and negative, you can help others make decisions of where they want to live and with who. Reviews across the city can highlight areas of poor practice and what improvemts in accommodation standards need to be made.     

Rent striking

Students may want to withhold payments for their accommodation until they receive a fee waiver or discounts. This is known as rent striking. Students in accommodation are under contractual obligation to pay their fees and must do so on time. We do not encourage or support this as it may result in rent arrears or legal action being taken. Any student who is unable to pay their accommodation fees should speak to their landlord or accommodation provider as soon as possible and let them know about any financial difficulty. Students should also speak to the University's Financial Guidance team about the Emergency Hardship Fund. 

University Wins

You told us and we did it! Your SU has successfully lobbied the University to do the right thing, after closing campuses and telling students to go home, to waive term 3 rent payments for students who have left their accommodation early. The University is also allowing any student who wishes to leave, to do so! Not only that, Your SU also lobbied U-Student the owners of The Forge to follow the University and allow students to surrender their contract early and waive term 3 payments. 

Students living in University accommodation; Clanny House, Panns Bank an Scotia Quay and The Forge should have received information from the University detailing the process of returning keys and surrendering tenancy. The University has updated it's Covid-19 accommodation FAQs HERE.

Who we have contacted and their response 

Your President: Wellbeing has written to a number of accommodation providers and landlords in Sunderland asking them to waive term 3 fees. We have also had a number of other students get in touch with us about cancelling contracts and term 3 fee waiver. We have complied a full list of who has responded and their response HERE. We are continuing to lobby both accommodation providers and landlords to try and have fees returned to students. 

SU Advice

Your SU has dedicated confidential support you can access for free. Our Advisor is able to speak to you about tenancy issues and problems you are facing and how you might be able to approach accommodation providers and landlords. Our dedicated tenancy web pages have lots of self help information available to use and you can book a 1-to-1 appointment via our secure booking system

Shelter 

Shelter are a leading housing charity in the UK which may be able to offer further help or guidance about your rights during the pandemic. Currently they are offering Sunderland students extra support both online and by phone.