The #NotstayingNotPaying campaign achieved victory last week in Scottish Parliament when MSPs approved emergency legislation that reduced the notice periods that tenants must give before being released from student accommodation contracts. At the moment, this only applies to Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA).
This new legislation ensures that students who have already left their accommodation as a result of the coronavirus crisis only need to give 7-days’ notice to be released from their contracts. In St Andrews, this will apply to students staying in East Shore and Ayton House. Furthermore, if students have already been charged rent by these accommodation providers, they may be eligible for a refund.
Jamie Rodney, President of the Students’ Association, led the efforts in St Andrews.
With regards to the current situation, he stated, “Due to the successful campaign by students from across Scotland, there’s been a change of legislation which will give students who have struggled with their contracts from PBSA more chances to be released from their contracts.”
Mr Rodney further described the progress made as ‘a huge step forward’ but added “we need to keep up the pressure” in order to achieve fair treatment for students across the community who are dealing with difficult accommodation situations as a result of COVID-19.
NUS Scotland have prepared a template letter that students can use to request a refund if they have been unfairly charged rent by their accommodation provider – this can be found at https://www.nusconnect.org.uk/resources/notstayingnotpaying-template-refund-letter