Student University Accomodation during Coronavirus

First time poster here, I'm not sure if I'm posting in the right place, so please bear with me.

My daughter is currently studying at Nottingham Trent University where all lectures and 'face to face' teaching is suspended.  My daughter has been informed that this is likely to remain the case until the next academic year (i.e. Sep 2020) and had been encouraged to return home.  In the meantime, the next payment for her student accomodation is due on 1st May 2020, this is the final payment for the final term.  This payment is £2500, so it's a significant amount of money.  Given that she will not be staying there, is there anything we can do about not paying that final installment?  

I've contacted Student Roost, who manage her accomodation, but have not had a reply.

I'm guessing that there must be a great many students in this situation.  Has anyone else has any experience here?

Any advice appreciated.
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  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,726
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    I would expect she would receive her grant/ loan as usual and therefore be expected to pay for the accommodation that she signed up to. Probably overall a saving if she spends less on food at home than she would at uni and less opportunity for partying.
    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, mortgages and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
  • Woodyrocks
    Woodyrocks Posts: 1,913
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    scaashiana I just popped in here to start a thread of like as we too are in the same position. 

    Students in University Halls have been informed they will not have to pay accommodation fees for final term of the academic year if they choose to go home and access remote teaching from there. However, those in Private Halls still have to pay this final term rent deposit should they wish to go home also. There is no break clause in the shorthold tenancy agreement hence looking for information as to how best to approach this. It just doesn't seem right that there is no protection for students living in private halls. 

    Hopefully some useful responses will be forthcoming from informed MSE'ers 

    DEBT FREE AND LOVING LIFE
  • scaashiana
    scaashiana Posts: 8
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    edited 19 March 2020 at 9:31AM
    silvercar said:
    I would expect she would receive her grant/ loan as usual and therefore be expected to pay for the accommodation that she signed up to. Probably overall a saving if she spends less on food at home than she would at uni and less opportunity for partying.
    Overall saving for staying at home?  £2,500 per term?  Less partying???  Not sure of the partying opporunities there are currently, given the recommendation about pubs/bars/etc. But of course people can bypass this. However, I don't think it's fair to paint every single student with the same brush.  But thanks for your comments regardless.
  • scaashiana I just popped in here to start a thread of like as we too are in the same position. 

    Students in University Halls have been informed they will not have to pay accommodation fees for final term of the academic year if they choose to go home and access remote teaching from there. However, those in Private Halls still have to pay this final term rent deposit should they wish to go home also. There is no break clause in the shorthold tenancy agreement hence looking for information as to how best to approach this. It just doesn't seem right that there is no protection for students living in private halls. 

    Hopefully some useful responses will be forthcoming from informed MSE'ers 

    Many thanks Woodyrocks.
    I think the education focus over coming days will be around GCSE and A Level exams, given the annoucement to cancel these (after I posted), which is fair.  However, the subject of accomodation needs some thought too. There will be 1000's of students paying 10's of 1000's of pounds on accomodation that they will not be staying at, due to Universities closing.
  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,726
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    I may be missing the point here. Students were expecting to receive their loans/ grant for the final term and pay the rent out of that. Really nothing has changed financially other than they no longer want to use the accommodation. It isn't as if the government is not reducing their student finance for the final term.
    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, mortgages and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,726
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    My comment on food was that at uni a student would buy all their own food, at home their food costs would be lower for any of the following reasons:
    a) they chip in to the family food budget and so a share of that is lower than cooking for one
    b) they eat as a family and the parents always pay
    c) there will be less opportunity for eating out/ pub drinking etc
    I realise not all would apply to every student, but on balance probably less will be spent by the student.
    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, mortgages and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
  • scaashiana
    scaashiana Posts: 8
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    edited 19 March 2020 at 10:27AM
    silvercar said:
    I may be missing the point here. Students were expecting to receive their loans/ grant for the final term and pay the rent out of that. Really nothing has changed financially other than they no longer want to use the accommodation. It isn't as if the government is not reducing their student finance for the final term.
    Perhaps, I've not made my points clear, in which case I apologise.

    1) Those student loans are not 'free money'.  They need to be repaid.  If universities close for the final term and encourage students to go home for remote learning, then I don't think students should be paying for that final term of accomodation.  There needs to be some thought (at a national / government level) around this.  One solution, for example, is to offer students the option not pay accomodation fees AND not to take the accomodation element of their loan and therefore reduce their overall debt.  If I were a student, I'd prefer to reduce my debt.  I acknowledge not all students will think that way, but the option should exist.

    2) Not all students are paying for their accomodation via a loan.  There are many cases where parents are paying for student accomodation (whilst the student pays for their tuition fees).  My point remains, is it fair that Universities close but still expect accomodation fees to be paid (when students are not staying there)?  Would you be happy to pay £2500 accomodation fees for somewhere you are not staying, through no fault of your own?

    Multiply £2500 (one terms accomodation fees) x 400 students at one University, equals £1m.  Multiply that x 100s of Universities.  That's the debt that students will be saddled with for something they didn't need to be.
  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,726
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    I hear you. I think there is more leeway when the accommodation is provided by the university and they can save costs by mothballing the halls for 6 months. For students in private halls or private renting, they have entered contracts with private companies or individuals and there is far less leeway. In fact the companies and landlords still have all their costs.
    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, mortgages and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
  • scaashiana
    scaashiana Posts: 8
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    edited 20 March 2020 at 1:41PM
    silvercar said:
    I hear you. I think there is more leeway when the accommodation is provided by the university and they can save costs by mothballing the halls for 6 months. For students in private halls or private renting, they have entered contracts with private companies or individuals and there is far less leeway. In fact the companies and landlords still have all their costs.
    I acknowledge that companies have their operating costs.  However, these are exceptional times. I'd suggest that it is at times like this where companies have the oppotunity to stand head and shoulders above others.  Look at what is going on nationally for our key workers; free meals / drinks / rides / etc. That's absolutely fantastic service from those companies (big and small) offering that service. I salute those companies, especially the smaller ones!  Many (not all) hotel companies, tour operators and airlines are tearing up their rule books and are offering flexible cancellations / rebooking options. Unprecedented times calls for unprecedented actions.

    In my opinion, during these times, reverting to standard cancellation policies represents poor customer service.  At a Money Saving website, I'd go as far as to say that accepting this and 'losing' £1000s is probably not the way things are done here. I don't think that the majority of people here would accept that. There are people far more creative / better connected / more experienced than I, who I am hoping can give some guidance here, or at least some creative ideas.

    Going back to the operating costs comment, how about this as an idea; those national student accomodation companies acknowledge that students are going home and offer a partial reimbursement for those students, so that those companies cover their operating / staff costs, but remove the profit / gas / electricity / water / etc element of the charge to those students?  Surely that should be a starting point?

    Anyway, I've written to my MP, but am not expecting much there.  I've also used Twitter for the (national) accomodation company and seem to be gathering a fair amount of momentum there, from other students / parents.  I'd suggest this may be an avenue for others.  In any case folks, ideas, thoughts and suggestions are very welcome.

    Thanks all
  • onwards&upwards
    onwards&upwards Posts: 3,423
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    edited 20 March 2020 at 8:39PM
    What about the landlords who aren’t huge national companies?  Just people who have maybe 1 or 2 properties to provide income?  I know of disabled people who do this as they can’t work but don’t want to rely on benefits.  They are essentially small businesses, like the cafes and pubs and hairdressers that are suffering too. 
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