Steve McCabe MP for Birmingham Selly Oak has written to Universities Minister Michelle Donelan to ask for urgent clarity on guidance given to students moving in and out of properties during the pandemic.
Following a rise in coronavirus cases in Selly Oak, many students have been forced to self-isolate in their properties beyond their tenancy end date. Students have been contacting the Guild of Students and local MP, Steve McCabe to express concerns about the behaviour of landlords and estate agents during this time.
Many students have reported they are being charged excessive amounts from landlords. In some cases students were being asked to fund hotel stays for the incoming tenants, deep cleans of the property or even being asked to move to a different property while isolating with the virus. The Guild of Students have flagged their concerns that the Government and OfS (Office for Students) have not provided universities with clear legal guidance which has made supporting students challenging.
Local MP Steve McCabe has written to Universities Minister Michelle Donelan to ask that the Government works closely to support universities and Student Unions on this issue.
Steve McCabe MP said:
“Some landlords and estate agents are seeking opportunities to profit from students who have been ill with COVID-19. I have heard worrying stories from constituents who are being pressured by their landlords to move properties while isolating or pay excessive fees. The lack of guidance and support from the Government on this issue is causing concern across the UK for both universities and students. It is time the Government urgently clarified the rules to prevent students from being exploited.’
Charlotte Minter, Vice President Welfare & Community at the Guild of Students, explained: ‘Staff in our Advice Centre have received a high number of enquiries from students concerned about facing charges from their landlords. Staff are having to interpret the current guidance, but it does not address the range of specific problems and cases we are seeing. The Government must engage with Universities and Students’ Unions to do more to protect students who are being threatened’.