Student landlord criticised over contracts

St Salvator's Quad at St Andrews University.St Salvator's Quad at St Andrews University.
St Salvator's Quad at St Andrews University.
A landlord has been urged to allow students early release from their accommodation contracts.

Student landlord wearehomesforstudents has come under fire for asking tenants in St Andrews to pay rent, even though they have been forced to vacate due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes after another student landlord, Hello Student, changed its stance and allowed students early release from contracts after being criticised by local MSP Mark Ruskell and students.

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“It’s good that Hello Student is allowing its tenants early release from contracts, and a huge win for the student campaigners who helped pressure them,” said Jamie Rodney, president of the Students’ Association.

“I would now hope that wearehomesfordtudents follows suit with their properties at East Shore. It would be appalling for students who are already coping with a pandemic to be hit with a huge bill for something completely outside their control.”

The UK’s largest provider, Unite Students, has allowed tenants to break early from their contracts.

Meanwhile, the University of St Andrews has released students from their accommodation contracts from today (Friday).

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A spokesman for the university said: “We are also providing a free packing up and storage solution for students who are unable to return to St Andrews.

“We will remain flexible and supportive of any students who have stayed and who are unable to return home when term ends.”

It follows comments by Further and Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead, who said that students who have decided to remain at college or university accommodation should not attempt to return home, even if that is in another part of Scotland.

He added: “Whether they are living in student halls, or private rented accommodation, they should remain there and not travel unless for food, healthcare or essential work.

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“I’ve also asked that institutions look sympathetically on any need for students to extend their stay beyond existing arrangements. I have also asked that this be extended to those who have returned to the family home and are having to ask to break agreements, and that institutions continue to be as helpful as possible to avoid disadvantaging these students.”

wearehomesforstudents did not issue a comment, but its website says it is engaging with property owners to see how students can be supported, and will be communicating with students.

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