One of the UK’s leading student landlords has rebuffed campaigners seeking compensation for a student who was told to go home by her university but persuaded to pay the rent for her accommodation.

Prime Student Living, which operates PBSA blocks in six UK cities, has rejected calls by Coventry South MP Zarah Sultana (pictured) and campaigning group Acorn to return the rent.

University student Rebecca Wallace quit her room at Trinity View in late March, returned the keys in June but was chased for the outstanding rent for April to the end of August, when her contract was due to expire.

The company said she owed £2,141 and told her the money owed had been passed to a debt collection agency. Wallace then paid the outstanding balance after borrowing money off her parents in Northern Ireland.

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“Prime Student Living’s harsh actions make them stand out amongst other student accommodation providers,” an Acorn spokesperson told local media.

“UNITE Students, the largest provider in the country, allowed all of their students to exit their contracts early, and Coventry University allowed all students in university-owned or managed accommodation to exit their contracts early.”

Concerns and difficulties

A statement from Prime Student Living says: “We appreciate that COVID-19 is causing concerns and difficulties across the United Kingdom student population.

“But the overwhelming majority of Prime Student Living tenants in Coventry have accepted the circumstances, paid for and taken up their tenancies, and have been continuing their university studies through online distance learning from their rooms at Trinity View.

“Speaking in general terms, if a Prime Student Living contract is agreed and signed by a tenant, and the accommodation is available, then the tenant is contractually bound to pay fees regardless of whether or not the tenant occupies the property.

“The tenancy agreement, as agreed and signed, does not contain any clauses allowing premature termination of a contract.

“The form of contract in question is no different from hundreds of thousands of standard student accommodation contracts currently operating across the country, whether with Prime Student Living or other providers.”

Rent guarantor firm Housing Hand agrees: “Student tenancies are further complicated by the migratory nature of those who hold them, along with the potential for further lockdowns and remote education.

“The combination of these factors has led many students to favour a “no stay, no pay” mentality. However, that ignores the fact that student renters are still legally obliged to pay their landlords under the legally binding commitments made in their Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements.”

Read more about Sarah Zultana.

Read the Hamilton Fraser student accommodation landlord guide.

5 COMMENTS

  1. You have signed a contract till August so you should pay really, a contract is a contract… If the shoe was on the other foot and your landlord kicked you out early you’d be going mad, and the courts would prosecute the landlord. It works both ways.

    • Yes. but the landlord does not have to accept them back and I would tell all the agents around what this student has done – most towns have limited accommodation for students and the agents all know each other…

  2. Well I, as a pensioner landlord, have had an empty property (my only rental property) for over 6 months and my local council says I still have to pay 100% Council Tax. No reliefs available to me or others like me so too bad, students.

    • It is quite easy.
      Just make up any old East European name advising the Council this is a single person and that you be paying the CT bill as part of inclusive rent.

      There just reduced your CT bill by 25%.

      If you ever get to the stage where you don’t wish to pay the CT bill anymore just contact the Council to advise them that you have changed the payment arrangement and have transferred responsibility to the tenant to pay the CT bill.

      Of course your tenant never pays the CT bill.
      Eventually you source new occupants after about 8 months.
      At which point you advise the Council that the previous occupant has now vacated and that you now have new occupants who will be paying the monthly CT bill.

      Of course you will have been given a surrender letter by the East European tenant who DOESN’T leave a forwarding address.

      The Council will NOT discuss with you any aspect of the former tenant’s Council Tax account.

      As it wasn’t in your name the CT bill is nothing to do with you since you stopped paying.

      Or of course you can just carry on being stung by an egregious council ripping you off while your property remains vacant.

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