Private Accommodation Toolkit

5 min read Key Information for Private Accommodation and Financial Hardship

Students walking past accommodation building

Private Accommodation Toolkit

This article will take you through key information regarding private accommodation, potential financial support if you are experiencing hardship and action you can take to highlight your financial position to your landlord.

Private Sector Halls

The University is in in discussion with private hall providers, registered with UCLan, to advise the steps UCLan is taking in support of students in University halls of residence and to establish how they plan to support students at this time. All providers, including the owners of Summergrove Hotel at Westlakes Campus (who will consider individual requests), have been asked to notify the UCLan Student Accommodation team of their plans once finalised.

 

Shared housing

Students who live in shared housing properties, with tenancies with local individual landlords, should contact their landlords directly to establish any support that may be offered.  For any advice on these matters please contact UCLan private sector on privateaccommodation@uclan.ac.uk.

Accommodation service will only deal with queries about registered landlords-although will probably do some basic general queries as well.

 

UCLan Students’ Union President Zuleikha Chikh held a virtual Accommodation Q&A to answer all your questions. Thanks to students for sending in your questions for the panel.

You can watch the full video here.

 

 

Over the past few weeks we have seen certain private sector providers such as Kexgill and IQ Kopa to communicate with their students regarding the agreed reduced rent arrangements. The support offered by private accommodation providers is very much appreciated by our students and we appreciate the efforts you have gone to to provide some reassurance in these challenging times.

 

Private housing is a complex issue and lies outside of the University’s control. Your Students’ Union President, Zuleikha has written to Preston MP Mark Hendricks, Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham, Westlakes (Copeland) MP Trudy Harrison, Preston City Council Leader Matthew Brown and Councillor Nweeda Khan urging them to do more to support students and the University, and to raise concerns regarding the Government’s approach to Higher Education during this third lockdown. We are calling on the government to implement national comprehensive financial support for universities and landlords; in turn, allowing them to provide rent rebates without suffering sudden unplanned financial burden as a result of pandemic measures.

 

You can read the letter here.

 

What can you do?

 

You can write to your local MP. The more students that write to their MPs the better!

 

Download the template here.

 

A message from UCLan Students’ Union Advice Centre

If you can’t afford your rent because of the COVID-19 pandemic you should email or message your landlord. Legally you still owe rent, but your landlord may be willing to compromise and discuss a payment plan. Please always make sure you correspond in writing.

Your message should explain:

  • * your payment proposal
  • * why you are struggling with rent
  • * what you are doing to address your situation
  • * that you will be in regular contact

 

With your payment proposal, make sure your proposal is realistic and what you can afford currently. If you cannot pay any rent at all this month, advise them and that you will review it next month. You need to keep the landlord/letting agency updated. We would never advise a student to withhold rent. Paying rent is always seen as a priority by the courts as not doing so could result in you losing the right to live in the property.

If your landlord gives you an eviction notice on or after 26 March 2020, the notice has to be increased to 3 months for these tenancy types:

  • Assured, assured shorthold and starter tenancies - you’re likely to have this if you rent from a private landlord or housing association 

The court service has postponed most eviction processes. Since 29 August all section 21 notices and most other eviction notices must give at least 6 months' notice. This is currently in place until 21st February 2021.

If your landlord started court action to evict you, this should be suspended and you won’t have to leave your accommodation yet. You should contact suadvice@uclan.ac.uk at once for independent advice.

The University may be able to provide financial support through The Office for Students COVID-19 Hardship Fund from the University.

Students who are paying additional rent or board costs elsewhere who have been unable to leave a private rental contract or have not been offered a discount or compensation on their term time rent for a dwelling where they are now unable to live due to Covid-19. (Please note that students living in University Accommodation or with any other provider who is known to have already compensated students in this position will not be considered for support in this category).

Please click this link for more details on what evidence you require before submitting your application. There are a further 2 categories including loss of income and digital poverty which you may also be eligible for. If you would like to speak to a member of staff to discuss your evidence requirements prior to submitting the application, please email CovidFund@uclan.ac.uk

Please share the link with anyone who you think would benefit from this support.

The deadline to submit your application for the OfS COVID-19 Hardship Fund is Wednesday 3rd February 2020 4pm.

We have also attached a range of templates which you can find at the end of the article to send to your landlord to highlight your financial position.

 

Stay safe

As you will be aware, the country is at a critical stage of the pandemic and it is now even more important than ever to stick to the rules.  We all have a role to play in this, so please let’s keep going with washing or sanitising our hands, covering our faces when around others and giving each other space. Please be reminded that Government advice is that you should now stay where you are whether that is in student accommodation or at home, until restrictions ease.

If you need any support regarding accommodation, please do not hesitate to contact us via 01772 892529 or via email StudentAccommodation@uclan.ac.uk or suadvice@uclan.ac.uk for independent advice from Students’ Union Advice Centre.

 

Letter Templates

Template for students to MP Jan 2021

Notice of Financial Difficulty Template

Letter Template for Rent Reductions

Letter Template for Contract Release

 

Links

OfS COVID-19 Hardship Fund – Deadline Wednesday 3rd February 2021 4pm

UCLan Students’ Union President Rent Letter to MP

Latest Government Guidance – Jan 2021

YouTube: Accommodation Q&A Panel

 

 

 

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