By Julie Ngalle
On the 31st of March, a statement made by the University and the Students’ Union called for a rent freeze: “We are calling for all providers of student accommodation to follow our lead; do the right thing and relieve Guildford’s students of the obligation to pay rent for empty rooms.”
This email stated any student struggling to reach agreements get in touch with the University of Surrey Lettings service at email@example.com.
This statement follows the University’s decision, announced on the 25th of March, to enable students to leave accommodation as needed and cancelling any further payments.
On the 17th of March 2020, the government announced a “three month mortgage holiday”. This move is supposed to allow landlords to support struggling tenants by lowering their rents. However, landlords have been reluctant to do so, angering tenants as a result.
Campaigns soon started within the University of Surrey, with students requesting that Guildford landlords and agencies show comprehension and compassion in these trying times, followed by the aforementioned plea for a rent freeze.
As all universities have now shut, most students have gone home and will not come back this academic year, and yet are still required to pay rent for empty rooms. Moreover, a lot of students relying financially on their part-time jobs have now lost their source of income, which makes it difficult for them to cover their rent.