Good quality, safe and secure housing is important, and Your SU understands this. We also understand that you need accommodation which doesn’t cost the Earth.
Looking for a new home is always stressful - be it short term or longer. When viewing, pictures may not always match the accommodation or the room you turn up to, and you may not have noticed the cracks in the wall or had chance to really test the internet. These things can have a huge impact on anxiety, stress levels and overall education experience. In addition, the last 6 months during the Covid-19 pandemic, has highlighted several key issues for students in private rented accommodation – students pay higher rents for their accommodation, are tied in to lengthy contracts and are provided with little to no support when things go wrong.
Your SU are launching new accommodation campaigns this year to help you find your next happy home and to help you flex your rights as a student renter, so you can take action when things go wrong. Your President Wellbeing is looking to:
Increase awareness of Marks Out of Tenancy
Create an accommodation committee and union
Build relationships with landlords via a new forum
Union Council in 2019/20 passed the Accommodation Action Campaign policy, which asked the Students’ Union to create a student committee and launch student led campaigns, and increase awareness on student accommodation issues. In addition, Council has asked the committee to come together to lobby for better student renter rights and mandate the SU's NUS delegates to take forward a policy to NUS Conference (next spring) to ensure there is a strong national movement.
The accommodation committee will be launching on Wednesday 18 November 2020, 1pm. If you would like to know more about or to join the committee, see full details of the meeting on our What's On page.
Your SU believes that no student, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, should be expected to pay their rent if they need to move out of accommodation following advice from the University or Government to keep themselves and others safe.
Our accommodation campaign was and is still 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.
In addition, after receiving many replies from landlords and letting agencies stating that students were still being paid student loans, we launched a MythBusters page to explain student finance and the true costs of accommodation, and the affect Covid-19 has had. As before, not all students, and in particular EU and International students, will not receive payments. Student loans have not for many years and continue to not always cover full rent amounts.
We understand releasing students form their contracts and terminating term fees has a huge economic impact on housing providers, however providing students with support will ensure students see the landlord or provider as supportive. We would encourage dialogues and discussions to ensure positive outcomes for all.
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 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.