Tag Archives: students

Student accommodation: what are your rights?

Citizens Advice has issued the following advice to students who may want to leave their accommodation before the end of the rental agreement.

If you are a student in halls of residence who wants to move out and end your contract. What are your rights?

Students who want to end their contract with the university and move out of halls of residence are unlikely to be entitled to a refund.

However, in the Spring when the national lockdown came into force, many universities did waive rent due on their own accommodation.

It might be possible to put forward a “frustration” argument if a student can’t access their accommodation, for example because campus has been shut down, or it is impossible or illegal for the student to travel to the accommodation.

This might also be relevant if the purpose of the accommodation is radically altered. For instance, if it was closely tied to a student attending a course in a particular location, and the provider is now delivering the whole course remotely.

However, the unprecedented nature of the pandemic means that legal arguments have not yet really been tested in the context of student contracts, and so it is not yet clear to what extent these arguments might succeed.

An argument that any contract is ‘frustrated’ (i.e. it is impossible to perform) is certainly less likely to succeed in a case where the accommodation continues to be available, but it is the tenant’s choice not to occupy it.

If you are a student in privately rented accommodation who wants to move out and end your tenancy. What are your rights?

Generally you are liable for any rent due until the end of your fixed term (and any guarantor may be pursued if you don’t pay).

Some tenancy agreements contain a break clause. But this would be unusual in a student tenancy agreement where the letting is intended to be for an academic year, and the landlord is only likely to be able to re-let it for the following academic year.

If you share accommodation with other people, then unless you each have a separate agreement, you are likely to be jointly and separately liable for rent.

This means that the landlord can pursue any of the tenants (or their guarantor) for any rent due under the joint agreement, regardless of which tenant failed to pay their share.

That said, it’s still worth trying to negotiate with your landlord, and they may agree to release you from the tenancy early, or to waive or reduce rent if you are not living in the accommodation.

Nicky Willshere, Chief Officer at Citizens Advice Ipswich says:

“It must be very frustrating for students that the academic year hasn’t started in the way they would have hoped.

“Unfortunately, there’s not much good news for students who decide to change households for the medium to long-term, by returning to their family home for example. It’s likely that in many cases they will be tied into their accommodation agreements and not entitled to any refund.

“It’s always worth getting in touch with your landlord and trying to negotiate. But realistically, if there is no obligation for them to release you from the contract, they may well be unwilling to do so.

“Where the landlord is the university, they may be more sympathetic to a short-term reduction in rent, or ending a contract early, if there is no longer any reason for you to remain in halls.

“However, it is early in the academic year, and it may be difficult to find alternative halls of residence accommodation if a student gives up their place, but later wishes to return.”

Press Release ~ To mark National Student Volunteering Week, Citizens Advice Ipswich thanks University of Suffolk law student volunteers for their valuable contribution to our advice team

Citizens Advice Ipswich is celebrating National Student Volunteering week (10-15 February) by thanking the University of Suffolk Law Students who use their time to help people face problems that may seem complicated or intimidating as part of our Advice Team at Tower Street.

As part of a partnership, a number of University of Suffolk Law Students spend a day a week with Citizens Advice in Ipswich training into advice roles. This gives them the chance to put their study into practice and gain experience of how the law affects people in their everyday lives.

Training Officer and Students

The scheme is a WIN WIN partnership – the students gain valuable work experience and Citizens Advice get to help more clients by expanding our volunteer workforce. Over 70 clients have been helped to date by the student volunteers since October.

Nicky Willshere, Chief Officer said:

“Not only do the students gain valuable experience which stands them in good stead for their careers, but our volunteers here love having them around with the passion and commitment they show and the perspective they bring to the team. Long live the partnership with University of Suffolk!”

https://www.citizensadviceipswich.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/students-1.jpg
Reilly Willis, Lecturer in Law at University of Suffolk added:

‘We are pleased to be able to offer our students this module, called Clinical Legal Practice, as part of the Law Degree at University of Suffolk. It gives them valuable client facing experience and enhances their communication skills which will be great when applying for jobs or further studies. In this module the students have been putting the law into practice in a wide range of scenarios and developing their client contact skills. They will compile a portfolio of legal issues and consider the law as it impacts on peoples’ everyday lives as part of their academic studies.’

Don’t just listen to us, though, this is how former volunteer advisers say volunteering with us at Citizens Advice Ipswich helped them get on with their careers in law and finance …

Although I have not pursued a career within the legal sector after studying law, I have very recently been promoted to a regulated role within the finance sector (Mortgage and Protection Manager). The time I spent volunteering at the CAB helped me immensely, as it was the first time I was in the live environment helping and advising customers with their needs and budgeting. Without CAB I’m not too sure I would have started a career in the banking sector.

Lworking for a High Street Bank

Volunteering at Citizens Advice was one of the best choices I have made, as I was surrounded by like-minded individuals who are passionate about helping the people who are in need of it. I have gained invaluable interpersonal skills when advising clients. I would urge anyone who wishes to pursue a career within the legal profession to volunteer.

Tcurrently working as a claims assessor for a firm of solicitors

I found that my experience at Citizens Advice was incredibly useful at developing legal skills that are not acquired as part of a typical law degree, particularly client-focussed skills such as interviewing clients to gather relevant information about their enquiries; identifying clients’ objectives; and preparing accurate attendance notes of meetings. Citizens Advice was also a referee for my application to join a law firm as a trainee solicitor; I still work at the firm, now as a qualified solicitor in its dispute resolution department.

Mworking as a solicitor in Ipswich

Citizens Advice gave me the confidence to interview and advise clients in a supportive and professional environment.

Scurrently volunteering with Suffolk Law Centre and continuing training in law as well as advising with us here at Citizens Advice Ipswich

student volunteering week