Student accommodation

​This page answers common questions relating to Covid-19 and students who continue to live on campus, as well as those living in private rented accommodation. 

Universities are doing everything they can to make sure students living on and off campus are supported. Students with questions should go their university's dedicated webpages about coronavirus. These pages include information and advice, as well as what students should do and who they should contact if they need any additional support.

Please note that UK government lockdown advice is changing. Lockdown measures are being eased in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but the restrictions will be different in different nations. Always refer to the latest government advice for your nation.


What if a student is living in halls or private rented accommodation, and has symptoms of Covid-19?

How can students get advice about staying safe in shared living spaces?

Can students who are still in halls of residence return home?

Can students who have left halls now get a refund on their rent?

Should students return to halls for their belongings, if they have left them behind?

What if a student cannot work because of Covid-19, and can’t afford to pay their rent?

Can a student be evicted from private rented accommodation?

Resources


Q: What if a student is living in halls or private rented accommodation, and has symptoms of Covid-19?

A: If a student is exhibiting symptoms, however mild, of a cough, or a fever, or if they have experienced a loss of, or change to, their sense of taste or smell, they will need to stay inside for at least 7 days from when symptoms started. As the government is rolling out more extensive testing, there may be the opportunity for students experiencing symptoms to request a test to check if they have Covid-19. The test should be arranged within the first 5 days of having symptoms.

Self-isolation applies to anyone living alone, or with others, and they may need to continue to isolate, if certain symptoms continue. Anyone living in close proximity to someone exhibiting symptoms, such as a flatmate, will need to stay at home for 14 days. See government staying at home advice for those with symptoms.

For students who are living in halls of residence where someone has symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19), the institution will discuss the situation with the local Public Health England health protection team who will undertake a risk assessment and identify who is required to take part in whole household isolation for 14 days based on their likelihood of being infected.

Depending upon the circumstances, this would normally include those students living in the same cluster of flats or on the same floor who share cooking or washing facilities, or both. See the government’s advice about living in halls of residence.

If a student is self-isolating or unwell and needs assistance they should contact their university to find out what support the university may be able to provide, this could include support with food delivery and essential supplies.

If a person feels that they cannot cope with their symptoms at home, or their condition gets worse, or do not get better after 7 days, then they should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus (COVID-19) service. 


Q: How can students get advice about staying safe in shared living spaces?

A: The government has advice about staying at home and staying safe to stop the spread of infection. The most up-to-date advice is on the government website: gov.uk/coronavirus.

Students with questions may also wish to check the information on their university's coronavirus web pages for further advice and about support that may be available.


Q: Can students who are still in halls of residence return home?

A: If there are students still living in halls of residence because they did not return home before lockdown but wish to return, the UK government has said in an FAQ about the easing of lockdown measures that within England, students are permitted to return to live permanently in their family homes. 

In Wales, students are also permitted to move permanently from halls to their family homes. The advice for students within Wales is available on the Welsh Government higher education and student support FAQ. 

In Scotland students are permitted to move in in line with guidance on moving home which came into effect on 29 June. Students are advised to give notice to leave halls of residence if they can do so safely and according to wider health and safety guidance and providers are asked to operate an appointment system. The full guidance from Scotland is available on the student information website. See also the guidance for moving home in Scotland. 


Q: Can students who have left halls now get a refund on their rent?

A: Whether or not a student can get a refund will depend on the university halls of residence provider. Students should contact them directly to find out.


Q: Should students return to halls for their belongings, if they have left them behind?

A: Within England, DfE have updated their FAQ for students to state that students can collect their belongings from halls or other accommodation. The guidance is clear that students intending to collect belongings must contact their university to arrange times and to comply with social distancing measures. College and University Business Officers (CUBO) have also published guidance.

In Wales, the advice to students notes that students wishing to travel to accommodation to pick up their belongings would be classed as a reasonable excuse to travel.

In Scotland, the advice states that tenants, or former tenants, of student accommodation who wish to collect belongings can do so, if they can do so safely and in accordance with the measures set out in the guidance on moving home. Providers of halls of residence are advised to use an appointments system. See also the guidance for moving home in Scotland. 


Q: What if a student cannot work because of Covid-19, and can’t afford to pay their rent?

A: If a student is living in halls of residence they should contact the university or the halls of residence manager to find out what arrangements can be made.

If a student is living in the private rented sector, they will still be liable to pay their rent as normal, but the government has put measures in place to ensure anyone renting in the private sector cannot be asked to leave for three months. If somebody cannot pay their rent, they should speak to their landlord in the first instance. Further information is available on the government website. Shelter also has some useful resources.

Universities are aware of the financial pressures facing some students, and many universities are putting hardship funds in place. Any student who is worried about their financial position should contact their university to find out what support  is available.


Q: Can a student be evicted from private rented accommodation? 

No, nobody can be evicted from their privately rented accommodation for at least three months. That means that nobody in private rented accommodation can be legally forced out of their home. Further information is available on the government website. Shelter also has some useful resources.


Resources

Please note that lockdown restrictions across the UK are changing, but the restrictions may be different in different nations. Please refer to the advice in your nation.

News

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