officer blog

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sophie atherton

campaigns & democracy
s.atherton@uea.ac.uk

student accommodation and covid-19

Hello everyone, I know many of you have questions about accommodation and how COVID-19 affects your living situation, contracts, and finances. At the SU we have put together a list of FAQs that you can find here which may answer some of the questions you have.

As I mentioned in a blog last week, if you are are concerned about your rent and you live in campus accommodation, you should have received an email from the UEA Accommodation Office offering the opportunity to end your tenancy early if you wish. In light of the changing situation UEA are regularly updating their FAQs which can be found here. If you do live in campus accommodation, to help them with their service provision at this time, UEA accommodation needs your help with ascertaining the numbers of students residing in their UEA room at present. This is so that UEA can support NHS staff with housing in this time of need! If you do live in UEA campus residences, please complete this form.

Last week, I also mentioned that I have been working with UEA to encourage our local purpose-built student accommodation providers (Crown Place, Pablo Fanque House…) to put similar provisions in place. Since then, I have written to the providers asking them to reconsider their current views on not allowing students to terminate their contracts. I am currently waiting to hear back from them both concerning this.

In the current scheme of events, some of you may be concerned about housing for the next academic year. If you are currently in a position where you do not have housing or housemates for the next academic year, please do not worry as homerun, our accredited housing scheme, is working on ways of providing online viewings and housing socials.

On the topic of private accommodation, I am aware that many of you live in houses that are privately owned, which may be through homerun landlords or local Norwich letting agencies. I am writing to reassure you that as a SU we have written to our landlords with the current government and shelter advice and some have been able to let students out of their tenancies for the end of this academic year. We’ve even had one landlord house an international student for free whilst they are unable to return home. I do acknowledge that this may not be feasible for every single landlord but we are doing our utmost to encourage this decision and to support you, our members, during this time.

I fully recognise that this may have a negative affect on your finances, so if you are concerned and need further support and advice, you can find this in last week’s blog which signposts you to the hardship fund or advice(su), if you need them.

Whilst uea(su) are campaigning locally on your housing rights, the National Union of Students have made 5 demands to the government regarding accommodation during this period of time, you can find out more about what they are here. I’m hoping to be able to write to you with a further update from the government next time in my blog!

This blog is jam-packed full of information so hopefully helps with some of the questions or concerns you may have. If there is something that has not been answered or you have any other housing related queries, please get in touch with me at s.atherton@uea.ac.uk.

 

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