The government guidelines are forcing students to stay wherever they are until further notice, which is causing a lot of frustration and worry with students. Those who must pay a hefty amount of rent each month for their accommodation are left to continue paying despite not being able to live at the residence. This causes concern as students will be paying for a service which they can’t access. So, what is Coventry University doing about it? The student union for Coventry University has fought and are continuing to fight to reduce these rent payments so read further to see how you might be able to benefit from reduced student rent during COVID in Coventry:

1. Your contract hasn’t ended but you’re not going back

Depending on your situation, there are two options available:

The first option is only if you live alone, or everyone that shares the tenancy agreement with you also would like to leave. If this is the case, you would want to check if your tenancy has something called a “break clause”. Signing a contract which states you’ll be living at the residency for a fixed period usually has a “break clause” located at the beginning or end of your contract but read the contract carefully in case it’s somewhere else. The break clause only works if everyone wants to leave. The “break clause” allows you to end your contract after a date, before the initial end date, but only if you give the necessary notice. Unfortunately, you’ll probably have to pay rent until that notice period had ended. There could be the possibility that your contract doesn’t include a “break cause” and in this case, you don’t have the right to end your contract straight away. So probably have a chat with your landlord about this so see if they’re happy to let you go without more rent payments. Don’t forget to ask for this in writing if they accept!

The second option is if you’re the only one who wants to move out. You’ll probably have to continue paying rent unless you find someone to replace you. If you can’t, then discuss this with your flatmates/ housemates and the landlord. If the landlord gives you the green card and says you don’t need to pay rent, then you’re good to go. If not, then the disappointing reality is that you’ll still be paying rent until the contract is over.

Coventry University rent strikes
Source: IEC Abroad

2. Can’t afford rent due to Coronavirus

Don’t panic. The Coronavirus Act 2020 has stopped all evictions that need a court order for three months. This means your landlord must give you a minimum of three months’ notice if they want to evict you. Unfortunately, your rent is still due, but you might be able to arrange a payment plan with your landlord to sort this out.

3. Rent strike

The rent strikes taking place are specifically for university own and private accommodation. Students are refusing to pay rent until these demands are met:

  • A refund for the duration that students are not able to return to campus as a result of lockdown
  • Contract releases for those who cannot return for the rest of the academic year
  • No consequences for those who take part in the rent strike

4. University owned accommodation

Currently, the university is offering an 80% partial refund from 5th January until 6th February which you can apply for. However, you can only be eligible if you have not returned to your accommodation after 5th January and you have paid your rent in full up to this date. The deadline for this application is 16th February.

5. Private accommodation

Some of the private housing/ accommodation information is covered in the first two points; however, there are two specific private accommodations which are offering a few reductions which you may be able to benefit from. Unite Students say that you need to be up to date with your rent payment as of 31st January 2021 and not have returned to your accommodation between 18th January and 14th February 2021. If this is the case for you, you can apply for a 50% discount on your rent for four weeks, which will come back to you in March. However, iQ Students would like you to log into their portal and select “Lockdown Discount” to apply for your rent-free period from 5th Jan until 15th February. You can only get this if you pay directly to iQ and you cannot go back to your room. You’ll receive your money by the end of March 2021, only if you’re up to date with your payments.

As we all know, these are unpredictable times that we’re currently living in. None of us know when we will be allowed to go back to university or if the lockdown date will extend. Coventry University Student Union are doing their best to keep you updated on your options for reduced rent this year so make sure to keep an eye on the website for more updates. A lot of students are struggling to complete any coursework at home, let alone without the university resources we need. However, remember you are not alone. There are many other students that are in the same boat as you and the end is eventually coming! Make sure to stay safe and take precautions during these times. Good luck!