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We have outlined our position regarding the global COVID-19 pandemic below. This information was sent out to all registered landlords on the 8th of April.

 

 

We hope you are keeping safe and well during this challenging time

As a current landlord advertising on SASSH we wanted to contact you in order to provide some useful information and guidance in relation to what the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University would advise during this period, what actions we ourselves are taking and general guidance and information for landlords during this uncertain period. The ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) emergency has had a major impact on all our lives, greatly affecting the Universities and has no doubt raised some queries regarding your student accommodation.

In latest advice, any students; whether in halls, a University house or private accommodation, should now remain where they are currently living until further advised. This is alongside the current advice to remain in current households as much as possible unless considered a key worker, are out to buy food and/or medication or to do exercise once a day. Full details can be found here. In addition, both the University of Southampton and Solent University have dedicated COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pages for you to keep up to date with the latest changes and advice in relation to the current situation.

University of Southampton – COVID 19, information and update.

Solent University - COVID 19, Information and update.

University of Southampton current situation

  • The University of Southampton is still open and key services are running, the majority remotely where possible.
  • There has been a change in our services in terms of point of access and many services contactable only by phone, email or via online platforms.
  • This includes all teaching for the remainder of the year, with all lectures to be conducted online for the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year, as a result many students no longer have a need to be in Southampton.
  • With regards to University owned accommodation, halls and family housing, we will continue to house all those who still require accommodation, however it has been agreed that anyone who wishes to leave their accommodation will not be charged the 3rd and 4th instalments (for those on 51 week contracts) of their accommodation contract.
  • In instances where students have belongings left in rooms, due to travel restrictions/going home for Easter, we have still released students from the contract and will arrange for them to collect belongings at a later date.

Solent University current situation

  • Protecting the health and wellbeing of our students and staff remains our top priority, so to help us achieve this, we moved towards fully remote working from Thursday 19 March.
  • All our campuses have been now locked down and are not accessible to any members of staff or students, except for essential and directly involved estates and facilities staff.
  • We are committed to ensuring our students can continue their academic work, and that those in their final years are able to complete their studies successfully. So, although teaching will be happening in a different way, there are a range of measures in place - from using different technologies and providing access to specialist equipment, to altering assignments and assessments - to make sure they experience as little disruption as possible. Additional, tailored advice for students is available in the FAQs below. 
  • All short courses at Warsash, Timsbury and East Park Terrace are suspended.
  • The library is closed, with resources, support and advice available online
  • The Student Hub and Solent Futures are providing support and advice services online and by email.
  • Our halls of residence remain open for those students who are unable to return to their homes, with additional support being provided.
  • However, regardless of whether students remain on site or move out:
    • The University will not be collecting any further rent payments for this academic year from today’s date.
    • Students will not be charged for any accommodation fees after 1 April.

Advice from the Student Unions of both Universities

Student Unions at both Universities (Southampton University Student Union and Solent Student Union) are advocating for a no penalty early release for students from their contracts, who have had to or chosen to go home during this period of lockdown and social distancing. Many students lives will change from the Pandemic, and for many students already, student finance and living costs are already a struggle. We ask that Landlords exercise compassion and offer this early release or consider reducing the cost of rent temporarily. We recognise that some landlords may not be able to do this, but we ask that they speak to their Student tenants and continue to make sure they have the advice and guidance required for them to not fall into debt and arrears. We also encourage any landlord to make their students aware to get in touch with our Advice Centre (SUSU) and Student Hub (SSU) if they want advice on any issues that may arise from this.

Southampton University Student’s Union VP Welfare & Community
vpwelfare@susu.org

Solent Student’s Union Head of Student Wellbeing
su.welfare@solent.ac.uk

Advice from SASSH partners

  • During this uncertain time for all, we would like to encourage compassion to be shown to residents in all student accommodation. The current situation could not have been foreseen or planned for and so we would expect to see an understanding of this in dealing with current tenants. The situation has put a huge amount of pressure on both tenants and landlords, as per government guidelines we’re expecting parties to work together to find solutions that work for both. We fully expect there to be compromises made in order to best deal with this.
  • If you have not done so already, we would advise landlords are familiar with current Government guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities. A couple of current headline items include no evictions for the next 3 months for tenants, and information on Government support for landlords including a 3 month mortgage payment holiday for those with buy-to-let mortgages for those with tenants experiencing financial difficulties due to COVID-19.
  • Please note during this period there is lots of advice and support still available to students from both Universities and their respective Student Unions (SUSU or Solent Student Union). If you have student tenants who are experiencing difficulties due to current circumstances or even just generally please advise them to make use of these services.
  • Where possible please encourage students to follow the rules on social distancing. Please be mindful of and follow the recommended government measures when dealing with all aspects of tenancy management
  • In relation to accommodation contracts landlords have every right to continue charging rent. During this period we would however advise you to look into possibilities of early releasing students from their contracts or alternatives of reducing, delaying or waiving rent if students are now having financial troubles as a result of COVID-19.
  • Any changes regarding a shared contract should be discussed with all  Tenants including guarantor's where applicable
  • Arrangements should be put into place to settle or re-adjust utility bills as a result of any accommodation changes

Should you require further guidance or legal advice the National Landlords Association and Residential Landlords association offer a dedicated, housing advice service.

With regards,

SASSH

Southampton Solent University     University of Southampton

private.housing@solent.ac.uk       privaterented@soton.ac.uk

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