Housing: Representing You

Jack O'Neill, SU President

During these challenging times, we recognise that one of the main concerns for students is accommodation. As we all face our various challenging situations, it is understandable to have some worries over housing circumstances. This is why we have been working with the University to support you as much as we can.

Supporting you in private accommodation

This morning, the Principal (Professor Paul Layzell) and I jointly wrote to landlords within the local area to ask for them to provide flexibility in approaching contracts with students. The letter highlighted some of the issues facing students, whether this be financial struggles or no longer occupying the residence, and asked for landlords to provide the option for students to be flexible in their contracts, possibly exiting from them earlier.

Read the letter

We recognise that these are difficult times for everyone in the country from a variety of occupations, and landlords are no different. The main thing we ask is that if it is possible for them to take advantage of new legislation (such as mortgage holidays) they consider how they can pass this on to students who may be struggling financially.

Collectively, alongside the University, we hope that the housing sector appreciates these challenges that students face, and approach any discussions with student tenants with an open mind that leans towards flexibility.

Supporting you in halls of residence

After discussing the issue with the University directly, and raising the current experiences of students, an announcement was made earlier this week presenting the option for you to terminate your halls contract early.

This means that if you are not planning on coming back to campus to use your room and you have paid for your accommodation upfront, you can get the third term money refunded. For those who pay in instalments, if you opt out of the contract, then you will not need to make the third term payment. In order to do this, you need to clear your room and kitchen/pantry and confirm that you have left, requesting the termination of your contract by emailing customerservices@rhul.ac.uk. The deadline for this is 27 April 2020, if you aren’t able to do this before the deadline then we advise you to contact customer services.

This is a great step in helping students who may no longer be in need of their halls. Therefore, if you have moved out of halls, or are intending to do so before the deadline, you will either be able to save your money, or be reimbursed. We are really pleased that the College listened to the points that we made and were forthcoming in ensuring this change for students in halls!

Avoiding unnecessary travel

This morning, the University circulated recent Government guidance that advised students to avoid travelling between their University and their ‘home’ residence; this applies to those who have already moved home and not travelling back to University and vice-versa. If you have gone home, physically vacating your halls of residence, but have left your things in your halls and would like to terminate your contract, we advise you to contact customer services to inform them of this.

We understand that a number of you had to quickly leave your halls and may still have possessions in your room but have no intention of returning Term Three. I’ve been in direct contact with senior College staff to discuss potential solutions for this particular issue and there’s a number of obstacles to overcome before they can announce anything. In the meantime, we advise you to contact customer services to inform them of the fact you would like to terminate your contract but you still have possessions in place. This will allow the College to understand the scale of the issue in more detail.

I am facing some other housing challenges, what can I do?

We recognise that some challenges that you may be facing, and various different issues arising, can be very specific and vary on an individual level. If you do have anything that you would like to discuss, then our Advice Centre will be more than happy to help. Our Advisors are currently working remotely but will be able to help out over email, phone or video call.