Nearly a quarter of students have been unable to pay rent during the pandemic, according to a new survey NUS (National Union of Students) survey.

It found that 22% haven’t made their payments, 27% haven’t paid bills and more than two-thirds are worried about being unable to pay rent.

The NUS claims the problem is only likely to get worse following the recent lockdown announcement that’s left most student renters still liable to pay for accommodation they can’t access.

Thousands of students at 31 universities have been threatening to hold social-media organised rent strikes to protest about the situation.

50% rent cut

Yesterday, in response, the UK’s largest student accommodation provider – Unite Students – announced it would give residents a month-long 50% rent discount as well as a four-week complimentary extension of their tenancy agreement at the end of the academic year.

The move only covers purpose-built accommodation but is likely to put pressure on private landlords to follow suit.

The NUS survey quizzed more than 4,000 students and discovered that the number living with their parents has gone up since September; 30% of students now live at home compared with 25% before the pandemic, indicating that some have had to reconsider their living arrangements.

While almost half of students live in rented accommodation, about one-third believe they won’t be allowed to leave their tenancy agreement early due to the pandemic.

NUS rents hilary

Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, NUS vice-president for higher education (pictured), says students deserve better than to be financially punished for following public health guidance.

She adds: “This goes to show the level of disregard that this government has for students. We need rent rebates immediately to ensure that students are not out of pocket for rent from properties they are not living in.”


  1. I appreciate that some students work in their University town/city to supplement their loans, but as they are still receiving their loans, they should be paying minimally a large % of their rent!
    Have the students forgotten that their landlords still have to pay the mortgage, bills in addition to putting food on their tables.

  2. Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, NUS vice-president for higher education is wrong. Students are not being punished! What rubbish, no one is being punished. We are all in this together. Landlords have mortgages, rents, bills, etc. to pay regardless of Covid.
    Students WILL have a method of rent payment in place before signing a tenancy agreement. It’s usually a parent or these days a student loan. That won’t have changed, they have the money. It’s up to the student to decide whether to live in their student house or live with mum and day. Either way, they are renting and rent is due.

  3. Nobody forced student tenants to sign up for tenancies.

    Just because a pandemic came along is no excuse not to comply with a contract.

    Of course had they not signed that is a business risk that student LL run.

    LL had the letting offer which costs a great deal to provision.
    They hoped their offers would be taken up.
    They were.
    Just because events then meant the letting contract wasn’t convenient any longer for the student tenant is just TOUGH!!

    Perhaps students should consider things more carefully before they sign contracts.

    If they are caught out by world events that is just TOUGH!!

  4. I don’t know about the rest of the country but my students are all inclusive so not only do I have a mortgage to pay but I have to pay all their bills also! If they are not their they suggest there are no bills to pay I find my self having to educate them on Standing Charges and contracts for WiFi that you can’t get out of!! Mortgage holidays that still mean you have to pay and the fact that not paying gives me a black mark against my credit rating.

  5. Sometimes the situation is more complicated. As both the parent of a student and a landlord I have been hit from both sides. Despite my daughter not even getting the keys for the property (as we were self isolating and then the uni started online learning as they were in a high tier with restricted travelling)rent was due to one of the larger student accommodation companies. So far this has been paid but obviously no utilities used or wear and tear on the property. Is is paid by me due to income levels at the time but those income levels are not there due to covid. Not all students have full loans. My own tenants don’t pay and my work isn’t there due to Covid. So I certainly see it from both sides. I intend to address the situation with the student landlord as they are wanting to profit from the situation. Full money in but not nothing used. IMHO a reduction would be appropriate for this reason in this particular case, and for those told not to use there accommodation where rents are all inclusive.


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