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Can I have a rent reduction?

Please be aware as we are the managing agent for private landlords, Uni2 Rent do not own our properties and are not in a position to be able to release people from their contracts, or to authorise rent reductions. We are in discussion with all landlords about possible rent reductions, but this will only however be considered with rental accounts that have been paid in full, on time as per the terms of your tenancy agreement.

While we are doing everything possible to work with yourselves and the landlord, please ensure your rental account is up to date and we will notify you of any discount agreed. Please be aware that any discount agreed will be applied to your next rental instalment if possible, and while we will do our utmost to come to an agreement that suits both parties, we cannot guarantee that a rent reduction, cancellation or early termination of tenancy will be forthcoming.

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What action is Uni2 Rent taking?

Our sole focus is to help our students, landlords, contractors, and staff to protect themselves and others in every way we can during this difficult time. We are doing so by monitoring and adhering to the guidelines that are being produced by the UK government, and also monitoring the national and international situation surround COVID-19.

We understand that this pandemic will have caused significant distress to many of our students and are working to ensure our responses are coordinated and aligned with government advice to ensure the best help is given.

In times such as these one of the most important tools at our disposal is communication. Therefore we would ask you to please get in touch if you are facing a situation regarding your property or tenancy that you are uncertain of how to deal with and we will do our best to help. It is important to remember we must all pull together and support those in genuine need of support. We will do what we can as a business and hope you will support us where you are in a position to.

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The government advice on renters is aimed at private renters, as I am a student why are you giving me the same advice?

All of the properties that Uni2 Rent manage are private accommodations and Uni2 Rent is not an accommodation provider but rather a managing agent operating on behalf of multiple individual private landlords. All students are therefore classed as private renters.

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What will happen when my tenancy ends?

As the situation is ever-changing and evolving, we are unsure yet of how long any measures on restricting movement will remain in place. We do not expect that any restrictions on movements will last longer than when your tenancy ends, so it is highly likely that there will be plenty of time for you to return to a property and collect your belongings before vacating completely. This scenario however is liable to change in line with new government guidance and advice.

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What is coronavirus or COVID-19, and what are the symptoms?

COVID-19 is an illness caused by the virus coronavirus. The three main symptoms of the virus are the following. If you have any of these symptoms please follow the government guidance on getting a coronavirus test and strictly sticking to the guidelines in place for self-isolation.

  • Fever or high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

This information may be liable to change. For up to date information, please visit the NHS website below.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

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Can I cancel my contract?

An important distinction that must be made is that Uni2 Rent do not own the properties that we let out. Uni2 Rent are simply a managing agent that works on behalf of a private landlord that actually owns the building. As such, we do not have the ability or authorisation to issue rent reductions or cancellation of rents, or cancel tenancy agreements, without confirmation of the landlord.

 

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Even if I am not able to live in the property?

It is important to clarify that none of our students are being prevented from accessing their property by their landlord. Current government guidance stipulates that while non-essential travel is prohibited, you are still allowed to travel for education purposes. This means that you are still able to move back to and live in your student property.

The only caveat is that the government have prohibited frequent travel between your student property and your parent’s home, so if you decide to move back to your student property then please make sure to stay there in line with the government advice.

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My university has agreed to waive or cancel rents, why are Uni2 Rent not doing the same?

Uni2 Rent and our landlords have seen that some universities are reducing the January instalments of rent for students that are unable to return to their halls of residence. While our landlords would very much like to reduce or waive rent payments, the types of accommodation provider that are able to offer this are completely different commercial entities to that of the everyday landlord who have properties managed by Uni2 Rent.

Halls of residence in universities are different to the student properties that Uni2 Rent manage and operate within the private rental sector. As our properties are not affiliated to universities directly, they are all part of the private rental sector and private landlords are under no obligation to reduce or waive rent payments.

Universities may be able to account and plan for significant losses of rental income, however, for a number of our landlords this is their livelihood and, likewise with everyone else in this pandemic, are encountering their own suffering due to the crisis. As a result, it just isn’t a feasible option for them as much as they would like it to be.

 

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Will my rent be reduced or waived?

Many landlords are worried about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the result of tenants being unable to pay their rent. Landlords rely on the rental income for their buy to let mortgages and their own personal mortgages, and they may also find themselves in a difficult position financially if they have a reduction in rent or tenants not adhering to their obligations under their tenancy agreement.

There are a number of other costs that landlords use rent to pay for such as utility bills, maintenance costs, compliance with legal requirements, and insurance. For these reasons, landlords are unfortunately unable to offer any of our tenants a rent reduction or rent waive.

 

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Can I have a refund or reduction on the utility bills as I am no longer living in my property?

Although a property may be empty there are still costs associated with the property such charges for energy, estimated consumptions, and monthly internet payments, alongside rateable values in the case of water. These are costs that we must continue to pay on your behalf.

Each and every year we provide an estimated amount of usage on a student property varied dependant of the property size and how many students reside in it, to our suppliers. In order to keep things on track with the billing, Uni2 Rent provide up to date meter readings every quarter. Due to pandemic enforcement measures, we are unable to gain access to the properties for the foreseeable future to ascertain up to date meter readings. As a result, Uni2 Rent still have to pay suppliers on a monthly basis based on the estimated usage highlighted in the tenancy agreements regardless of whether anybody resides in the property or not. This will remain so until the end of the tenancy agreement where we will then provide close down readings to the providers.

As a result, we are afraid that neither Uni2 Rent or our landlords are in a position to be able to offer any reductions or cancellations of rent based on this.

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Will maintenance still be done at my property?

The government have indicated that all legal compliance requirements and management responsibilities will still apply and need to be adhered to during the pandemic. This means that only essential works will be carried out. Non-essential maintenance will be delayed until the end of lockdown measures.

For those students still living in their property, we advise you to continue to report maintenance requests through PropertyFile. Our maintenance department will then be able to determine if the work is essential. If not, it will be set aside to be completed when it is safe to do so.

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What should I tell my guarantor?

Almost all Uni2 Rent tenants will have a guarantor in place to ensure that rent is paid should you not be able to. You should ensure that you keep your guarantor updated with this information as much as possible.

If you are struggling to continue paying your rent you should inform your guarantor as soon as possible. Regardless of whether they are in a position to help you, you are required to make them aware if you fall into arrears, as they too are liable for the outstanding balance.

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What happens if one of my housemates default on their rent?

The vast majority of our tenancies are contracted under joint and several liability. This means that the responsibility of ensuring the terms of this contract are upheld is shared by all of their tenants as well as their guarantors.

Given the nature of events that are unfolding, of course a compassionate view will be taken to enforcing the terms of this contract. However, it should be noted that landlords are within their rights to seek recovery of any outstanding rents and/or costs from the other named parties on the tenancy should they believe unethical or immoral conduct is being pursued.

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Where can I find more information?

For more information about coronavirus, its symptoms, how to avoid catching it and what to do if you do have it, please visit the NHS website.

For further information on national or local restrictions and what these mean for you, please click here.

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