With a combined total of over 10,000 students residing in private accommodation in Bath, the private sector houses play a crucial role in housing the vast majority of our student population in the city.
We know many of you are not in Bath and have not been able to return to private rented accommodation that still requires payment. There is still so much uncertainty right now and many of us are facing significantly diminished finances due to the lack of jobs, stressed family situations, and illegibility for benefits. There is also uncertainty for students about what learning and teaching for semester 2 will look like and how this will impact students' decisions to return to Bath.
So as the third lockdown continues, we wanted to give you an update on our work to get a better deal for those of you renting non-university accommodation.
Student officer teams and Vice Chancellors from both universities in Bath have written an open letter pleading for some leniency and flexibility in arrangements from the private housing sector.
We hope that our actions help achieve positive results in the private accommodation sector, however each case is individual, and the landlord responses will likely vary across the sector. Therefore, we recommend the following steps if you are trying to negotiate your contract with your landlord:
1. Check the guidance detailed on University private accommodation page.
2. Download and amend the ‘template letter’ to send to your landlord. Personalise it to your situation as much as possible and to the level you’re comfortable divulging, this will help your landlord see the personal impact on you and why you need to negotiate your contract.
3. If you would like further advice on information to include and/or feedback on your draft, please contact the SU Advice and Support Centre.
4. Our Advisers may be able to provide further advice with your ongoing negotiations, so do check with them if you’re not sure about certain elements.
5. If your negotiations aren’t successful, you may want to speak with the Money Advice Service in Student Services to see what advice and support is available. Please do consider making an application to the hardship fund if you feel covid has affected your financial situation and ability to pay rent. You can also speak with Citizens Advice.