Student rent should be frozen due to COVID-19

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University students are being effected by coronavirus in a multitude of ways, both in and out of university. People all over the world are calling for rent freezes or even rent write-offs (to mirror mortgage payment freezes), due to people being laid off, hours being reduced, as well as bills increasing as people find themselves constantly at home due to isolation.

Whilst students do get maintenance loans to cover their ‘living costs’, for many students this is not enough to even cover their rent, let alone their bills. Every student has a different financial situation and the expectation of landlords for students to continue paying rent amidst this pandemic and lockdown is a multi-faceted issue.

the expectation of landlords for students to keep paying rent is a multi-faceted issue

Because students are some of the few who have at least some of their income covered through their maintenance loan, meaning that they may still be capable of paying some rent, the expectation for them to do so had remained largely unchanged. Whilst universities have allowed students living in university-owned halls to move out of their accommodation, and thereby get out of the last payment of rent, those who live in private accommodation are being expected to keep up with rent, despite the already intense and disconcerting time that we are living in.

The issues of this expectation ignore the fact that many university students rely on their parents to supplement their maintenance loan. As a result, if their parent’s work is affected during isolation, they may have no income to pay for themselves, let alone rent for a student house. As well as this, many students need to work themselves to supplement their maintenance loan, and most likely work in places that have been altogether closed due to the lockdown, such as retail or hospitality. Thus, the significant reductions in income for many students makes the expectation for them to continue to pay their rent one that unnecessarily adds to the already greater burden and anxiety that we are all experiencing at this time. This is particularly prominent considering that most students are likely to have gone home and moved out altogether for the lockdown period, meaning that they’re paying rent on houses that are no longer of use.

if their parent’s work is affected during isolation, they may have no income to pay for themselves, let alone rent for a student house

Therefore, considering the number of obstacles students are facing, whilst it may seem ‘unfair’ on landlords, tenants cannot pay with what they do not have, and should not necessarily be expected to. Students are already more vulnerable to infamously vicious landlords, and amidst these times, they do not need to suffer the threat of being evicted whilst the world has temporarily shut down.

Last modified: 11th April 2020

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