The University of Manchester has announced that students who are unable to return to their accommodation due to the national lockdown will not have to pay their rent.
It comes after the university first introduced a 30% rent reduction until 31st January following a series of student protests in November last year – which amounted to a six-week rent reduction in total – and it means that anyone who has been unable to return to campus as a result of ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions will not have to pay until the restrictions end or the student returns to their accommodation.
The news of the rent pause was confirmed to students in a joint statement issued by Professor April McMahon – Vice-President for Teaching, Learning and Students – and Dr Simon Merrywest, Director for the Student Experience.
The statement reads: “Recognising that this is a time of uncertainty and financial challenge, the date of the next instalment of your rent (due on 21st January), will be pushed back to give you time to reflect on your decisions for study in Semester 2, and to let us know if you are here or not.
“We will write to you as soon as possible and with plenty of notice to confirm the new payment date.
“You will still be able to cancel your license agreement at any point up until 31 March 2021 and will only be charged up to the date you return your key.”
It continues: “From 1 February, you will pay the full rate unless you choose to leave or not to return.”
With regards to private accommodation facilities, the University of Manchester stated that: “We and the Students’ Union will be writing to private providers to tell them what we are doing for students in our halls and encourage them to consider rent reductions for those of you who aren’t able to use their accommodation.
“However, this is their decision and not one that we can enforce.”
The university also reinforced awareness of the additional financial measures it is offering students, stating: “We know that the availability of part-time work or other circumstances might be causing some of you severe financial difficulty, so we have put additional money into our living cost support fund.
“Wherever you are based, there is support available for you”.
The statement closed out by saying: “The pandemic has caused enormous disruption this year, so we want to thank you again for continuing to make the most of your experience and for following the rules that help protect everyone in our community.
“We are very grateful for the support of the Students’ Union for these measures.”