Nottingham Trent University (NTU) students have voiced their concerns about private accommodation providers refusing to waive third-term rent fees.
Hundreds of NTU students have returned to their permanent homes following Government advice in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The university announced last month that they would be waiving third-term fees for students staying in accommodation provided directly by NTU or through UPP.
But Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor, described some private providers as “unjust” in leaving students “financially penalised for embracing their civic duty.”
In a series of emails seen by Platform, Tassi Lettings, FHP Student Living and Cotton Mills are shown as unwilling to scrap fees.
In one email, sent by FHP Student Living on March 19, a member of staff said “your safety and wellbeing is the top of my priorities.”
However an email sent by Jonty Green, Head of FHP Student Living, five days later, suggested the finances of the landlords had to be prioritised over those of the students.
It said: “Whilst many of you have gone home, the advice from the university unfortunately does not mean that your AST is cancelled so your rent remains due as per your AST.
“We are here to help however, but there needs to be an understanding that landlords have their own financial pressures that have to be met.”
Pete Trifunovic, 19, a first-year Journalism student at Cotton Mills, said he understands the reasoning behind not waving the fees, but described the situation as “frustrating”.
He said: “It’s frustrating for us as students because the majority of other first-year students, those housed by NTU themselves, have been able to get their money back.
“However, my accommodation provider is private and probably doesn’t have the same available funds as the university – so there’s not much that can be done.”
He added: “I hope it might urge them to try to find some compromise, even just to help students in my situation out a little.
“It’s obviously not what you want as a student staying with these accommodation providers but I can understand to an extent why they must take these actions, as the economy as a whole is struggling due to COVID-19.”
Nottingham South MP Lillian Greenwood recently pledged to support students suffering financially as a result of the pandemic.
She has called for further support from fellow MPs and the Universities Minister, leaving students hopeful of a resolution in the near-future.
One student, a resident with Tassi Lettings, who wished not to be named said: “As soon as lockdown was announced I immediately moved home which means all of my belongings are still in Nottingham.
“My only source of income currently is the student finance that will be coming in soon but that i not enough to cover my rent.
“The landlord has offered no lenience as to reduced rent,” they added.
“Hopefully Tassi Lettings will listen to the advice of the MP and at least offer a rent reduction for the foreseeable future.”
Platform attempted to contact all three agencies involved but received no response at the time of publication.
By Matthew Lee
Feature image credit: Pixaby