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Sabbatical officers launch rent refund petition

Written by Latest, News

The sabbatical officers at NUSU have today launched a petition demanding that students get either a third-term rent waiver or refund or a payment plan.

The demands of the petition were listed as:

  • More support from Newcastle City Council to represent students
  • A response from private accommodation providers, and for those who have made unreasonable decisions to reconsider these and be considerate towards their student tenants
  • More support for the student body from the University by lobbying equally for students in private accommodation

The ultimate aim is for private accommodation providers to waive rent payments for all of term three, which is the period from next Monday (27 April) to the contract termination date.

The petition comes following a letter sent by the Students’ Union to the City Council, letting agents, landlords and accommodation providers, and has been written in light of the fact that many students are not currently residing in their accommodation and will not be for the remainder of the academic year yet are currently set to continue paying rent. It furthermore draws on the fact that all university-owned accommodation has waived rent payments from the end of the second term on 27 March for students who have returned home; many Managed Partnership sites have introduced similar ‘early leave’ policies.

The petition demands that students receive “recognition, support and representation from Newcastle City Council, Newcastle University and private accommodation providers in light of the many difficulties we are facing due to COVID-19”, focusing in particular on the financial hardship that many students are currently facing, including those who have been furloughed or lost their jobs, and international students who have incurred large costs travelling back to their home countries last minute.

This follows immense feedback received by the sabbatical officers from students who are in financial hardship expressing their exasperation that they have either not been offered any opportunity to rent refunds, or that they have been offered it under unreasonable terms and conditions.

Last modified: 21st April 2020

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