We are lobbying hard for all accommodation providers to waive their 3rd term fees and are looking at alternative options should they refuse. If you are using a student accommodation prover, view the article for specific updates on your term 3 fees.
Stay up to date with your accommodation provider fees
Want to know if you're eligible? We have compiled information on the following accommodation providers so that you know if you are eligible for a fee waiver and what you do & not do if you are. Read the full breakdown here (or choose your provider below):
[Update: 4th May 2020]
Joint statement on behalf of Newcastle City Council and Newcastle and Northumbria universities - in response to the petition to provide students with better Term 3 Rent support.
“This is an extremely complex issue and we are working hard with our students and local landlords to find the best possible outcome in these difficult circumstances.
“The universities have written to landlords, accommodation providers and letting agents in the city, urging them to consider ending tenancies for students who have had to return home due to the coronavirus pandemic. As well as supporting students now, this would help us retain Newcastle's reputation in the longer term as a city that welcomes, values and cherishes its student population.
“However, we also recognise that landlords have been affected by this recent crisis. We are not advising students to withhold rent where they have a contractual obligation, but we would encourage students to talk to their landlords, explain and evidence how they are financially impacted, and for landlords to be flexible and to discuss options. This could include ending tenancies, discounts, rent deferrals or longer term payment plans.
“We will continue to work with students and accommodation providers as the situation continues to develop.”
[Update: 23rd April 2020]
Sabbatical Officer launches a new online petition for more support for students over 3rd Term Rent in Newcastle & London:
The following is a quote from the Sabbatical Officers in their petition: "Newcastle University students demand recognition, support, and representation from Newcastle City Council, Newcastle University and private accommodation providers in Newcastle and London in light of the many difficulties we are facing due to COVID-19. But more specifically, we demand support relating to the rent and financial hardship we are currently up against. Whilst we’re respectful that this is an incredibly difficult time for everyone, there has been a disappointing and insufficient lack of representation from our city (Newcastle City Council) in representing its student constituents." You can view the petition here.
[Update: 9-4-20 15:12pm]
- Your Sabbs are still awaiting the City Council response from their letter asking for Council support in lobbying local landlords to waive rent in term 3 for students who have moved out.
- University partnered accommodation has agreed to waive rent for term 3 for students who have moved out.
If you’re in University-owned/partnered accommodation, here’s some clarity on their repayment and fee waiving policies during term three:
NUSU strongly encourage all students to follow current government guidelines, so you should stay home (wherever you are) and save lives. We’re aware that some of the below conditions make this difficult, however, we are working with the University to ensure that this difficult transition is as easy as it can be. In University-owned accommodation, agreements are easier for us as a Students’ Union to input on, however, when it is University-partnered accommodation this is more difficult.
We will continue to lobby for terms and conditions to be as easy and fair for our students as possible, but please be patient with us on this and keep up to date on the appropriate accommodation provider websites. A full Sabbatical Officer update on housing including our letters to the City Council, local landlords, private accommodation providers and private letting agents can be found here.
For those of you concerned about accommodation for the next academic year, whether you have or haven’t signed for something already, we urge you to wait until the government guidelines emerge as it’s still early days. In the meantime, if you have a query relating to University accommodation please send this to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need advice or are experiencing difficulties please first check the Student Advice Centre Housing FAQs or get in contact with our Student Advice Centre who are here to help and are currently offering phone and video appointments. You can make an appointment, email them or give them a call on 0191 2393979.
[Update: 6-4-20 14:31pm]
Downing & Abodus agree to waive third term payments if tenants meet certain criteria
Following lobbying from the Students’ Union after receiving student feedback, Downing Students and Abodus have agreed with the University to waive third term rent payments if tenants meet certain criteria. This has emerged following close cooperation between the University and the Union to ensure that Managed Partnership providers follow the example set by university-owned accommodation of releasing students from accommodation contracts early. The Union is liaising with both the University and the City Council to lobby private landlords to implement similar policies.
Downing Students, who operates Verde and The View, has agreed to issue six weeks’ rent repayment to students who have vacated their accommodation and do not intend to return. This repayment is also offered to students who will not return to their accommodation during the remainder of their contract but have been unable to collect their belongings due to government travel restrictions. Certain criteria has to be met, including completing an online form by 5pm tomorrow, though the University is currently pushing Downing to extent this deadline. Further information related to the terms and conditions can be found on the Downing Students website.
Following feedback from students, Abodus, who operates Portland Green Student Village, has reviewed its Cancellation Policy, and have made changes to grant students with valid reasons an early release from their tenancy, meaning some students are able to waive third term rent payments. Any of our students who left their accommodation prior to the government lockdown arrangements may be eligible for release upon completion of a form by 14 April, subject to terms and conditions which can be found on the Abodus website and on tenants’ resident portal.
Students who do not plan to stay in their Unite or Liberty Living home during the third term do not have to pay outstanding rental payments.
The Students’ Union is continuing to work with the University to lobby private landlords to release student tenants from their accommodation contracts early, and the Union has sent a letter to both the City Council and private landlords on this topic. We are currently waiting for a response.
The Students’ Union recognises the impact that COVID-19 is having on students’ personal finances, and is continuing to meet with relevant stakeholders to represent students and support them during hardship. The Union has worked in partnership with the University to ensure that Student Finance Support Fund (Hardship) applications already submitted are being fast-tracked and larger emergency loans are being issued to those who apply if needed. The University is paying out all the remaining bursaries, scholarships and scheduled payments in one go. To find out more, head to the Finance Support Fund.
Additional financial advice is available from the Student Advice Centre, who continue to operate remotely and offer phone and video call appointments. Head to the Student Advice Centre's FAQ page to book an appointment and to find further signposting or to access further information.
[Update: 3-4-20 12:30pm]
We are lobbying private landlords to waive all 3rd term accommodation fees
From the entire Officer team, we hope you’re all keeping safe. We are aware that many students have moved home due to the current situation. As a Sabbatical Officer team we wanted to give you an update on what we’re currently doing with regard to your University accommodation. The University and many private accommodation providers have agreed not to take payments of 3rd term rent for students who have moved out of accommodation and to provide refunds to students who have paid in advance for those. However we’re aware that not all private providers have agreed to this and this is unfair as you are allocated accommodation by the University, so we as a Sabb team, alongside the University are lobbying hard for those providers to waive their 3rd term fees and are looking at alternative options should they refuse.
As a team we have also written an open letter to private accommodations, letting agencies and private landlords on behalf of Newcastle University students, to express our concern for students’ financial security due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Alongside this we have asked them to seriously consider some options to be more flexible and ease the financial pressure on yourselves. This includes options such as waiving rental fees for those who cannot use their accommodation, rent payment holidays, rent repayment plans and measures for students who may not be able to return to their accommodation before the end of their tenancy.
Finally we have written to Newcastle City Council asking for their support on this issue in this difficult time for us all. You can find those letters here:
We will be keeping you updated as things develop by posting any updates into this article.
For the latest FAQs on housing click here.
For the latest updates on tips you should be taking to safeguard your accommodation click here.
Stay safe. Be kind.
Your Sabbatical Officer Team