Lancaster University Reduces Rent in the wake of COVID-19

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On Monday 20th April 2020, Lancaster University have announced that they would be reducing rent for the third and final term of this academic year. The decision comes in the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the closure of campus facilities for the present time.

The rent-reductions include:

  • 100% accommodation fee reductions for rooms already fully vacated and keys handed back to the University (by 4 May) will be applied for the period 17 April 2020 to July (precise dates vary by room contract).
  • 25% reduction rate if they are unoccupied but not yet fully vacated and keys are lodged with the University by 4 May.
  • 75% reduction for 28 days following the notice of intention to vacate and 100% reduction for the remaining period to July (dependant on contract end date). Students have been asked to return their keys by post.

Full details on these reductions can be found on the University’s website.

A Spokesperson from Lancaster University said:

“As part of our plan to support students through COVID-19, Lancaster University has taken the decision to offer reduced accommodation fees to many of our students in university–managed accommodation this term. We appreciate this is a very challenging time for our community and we hope our decision to waive accommodation payments helps ease the financial burden for our students.”

The Lancaster and Morecambe branch of the Association of Community Organisation for Reform Now (ACORN) has stated that they will continue to organise their rent strike, where over 600 students at Lancaster University will withhold their rent until the University announces ‘full cancellations’.

In a statement on their Facebook page, ACORN responded to the announcement by stating:

Lancaster University has announced the cancellation of rents for students that have completely vacated their rooms, but still intend to charge 25% rents for those whose possessions are still in their rooms and full rents for those who have been unable to vacate campus. This is a huge partial victory for our campaign but the decision by the University to continue charging some rents is deeply concerning. This will largely affect international students who have been unable to return home due to border closures and may impact people who have remained on campus due to difficult living situations at home or vulnerable family members. The University’s decision to capitalise on rents in this pandemic shows a disregard for student welfare. The charging of 25% rent for those whose possessions are still in their rooms is an attempt to secure needless profit from people no longer living on campus, and even encourages students to break the lockdown in order to collect belongings and avoid these charges. 

ACORN Lancaster and Morecambe does not feel this decision by the University is adequate. We will be continuing our #CanceltheRent campaign and our rent strike will persist until we see full cancellations. This decision is a clear attempt to divide tenants, but it has also shown that if we stand in solidarity, we can win for everyone. Standing together has already achieved so much in less than two weeks and if we continue on we can see the full rent cancellations that other universities have already taken.

The Full-Time Officers at Lancaster University Students’ Union posted their statement in response to the University’s announcement stating:

It’s a great move to support students and help them financially – particularly in a time when many have lost income due to the pandemic.

We are of course disappointed that they are still charging full rent for those who have chose to remain in their accommodation. Many of these students are unable to return home & are now under significant financial pressure. ACORN are still striking over this very issue and after you voted at the AGM for your Students’ Union to support rent strikes, we support this fully.

We really hope that this positive news helps to ease one of your worries at what is sure to be a very distressing time.

Have you been affected by the rent reductions? Tweet us @SCANLU to tell us your opinion!

This is an ongoing story.

Ruth-Anne Walbank

My name is Ruth, and I'm the Editor of SCAN for 2019-20. I have been the Arts and Culture Editor in 2018-19, and the Deputy Arts and Culture Editor before that. I've written over 80 articles for SCAN across a variety of sections.
If you have any questions about the newspaper, feel free to message me!

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