Image Credit: Annie Watson
Following campaigns by YUSU President, Patrick O’Donnell, and YUSU Community & Wellbeing Officer, Carly Precious, the University has agreed to offer a rent refund to students living on-campus, who are having to return to campus after the start of the spring term (11 January 2021).
New government guidelines have stipulated that the majority of students who don’t have placements or practical teaching should return to campus later in the term, as part of a staggered start approach that will attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19.
O’Donnell confirmed that there will be a three-week window for which on-campus students can claim rent refunds. Students arriving for 18 January will have the opportunity to claim one week’s worth of rent, while those arriving for 25 January would be able to claim two weeks.
This follows O’Donnell’s appearance on Sky News last Thursday (3 December) in which he criticised the Government’s lack of financial support for students.
Carly Precious has stated that she was “really pleased” that they had been able to secure rent refunds for students on-campus. She said that “no student should be left out of pocket for doing the right thing and for looking out for their friends, their families, and the wider community.”
However, she pointed out that more work is yet to be done to ensure that all students, both on and off-campus, are supported at this time. “Given the absence of any Government commitment to refunding accommodation costs, the major question for the University now is whether or not they ensure students living off-campus are treated equally and take steps to ensure their living costs are met too.”
On this, O’Donnell discussed how YUSU “will continue to lobby the University, the Government, and landlords throughout York to ensure we can see genuine - and sustained - change for students.” He also added that YUSU’s Ideas Forum will meet again in January to facilitate debates on students' concerns surrounding rents and the cost of living, submitted through the YUSUggestions platform.
In another significant development, the University has partnered with YourGuarantor, who will act as a rent guarantor for students living in the private sector, where they are unable to secure their own.
Many private landlords require a UK guarantor, who is responsible for paying a tenant’s rent should they be unable to do so. Those without a guarantor can be asked to pay up to 6-12 months’ rent in advance. Therefore, this new scheme will be a huge benefit to many students.
The University will confirm final arrangements for rent refunds this week via email.