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JANUARY ACCOMMODATION GUIDANCE

This page was last updated on 20 January 2021

I live in private accommodation, can I return during lockdown?

We are advising student not to return to Newcastle at this time. You should not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time. We understand that this will be disappointing, but the risks are simply too great for people to be travelling anywhere at this time. For more information please check with your accommodation provider.

I need something from my accommodation, can I come back and get it during lockdown?

We are advising all students not to return to Newcastle to their University accommodation at this time. You should not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time.  We understand that this will be disappointing, but the risks are simply too great for people to be travelling anywhere at this time.

Information on University managed accommodation costs

In light of the Government announcement on 4th January and movement to a national lockdown, students are strongly encouraged to follow the Government guidance which will mean most students should not return to student accommodation in Newcastle. Given these exceptional circumstances, the University has therefore decided to offer students the opportunity to pause rent payments for tenancies within University-managed accommodation if they are not taking up the accommodation. 

Students who do not wish to take up their accommodation may apply for their rent payments to be suspended with effect from 11th January (the first date of the new term). This suspension will remain in effect until the earlier of when a student returns to accommodation, or the date at which government allows students to return (currently indicated as being mid-February). 

This offer also applies to international students who are not yet able to come to Newcastle due to travel restrictions. For these students, an application may be made to suspend rent payments until arrival at University. 

To clarify, since students are expected to return to study in Newcastle once restrictions have eased, the offer is for a suspension of rent payments; students are not being invited to terminate their accommodation tenancies, and will remain liable for rent once the suspension is lifted. 

Any students remaining in accommodation for during the lockdown period will be expected to continue rent payments. 

How to apply to pause accommodation rent payments 

Students who wish to apply to pause accommodation rent payments for their University-managed accommodation should make a formal request via email to 

Cr.accommodation.fees@northumbria.ac.uk by Friday 22nd January. Your email must include: 

your name   

student number 

the full address of your accommodation (including flat number)  

Once this request has been processed, you will receive a confirmation email from the accommodation team – please bear with us while we work through a large volume of correspondence.  

If you take up the option to suspend your accommodation payments this will not impact your first instalment. If you have arrears in relation to your first instalment or any other charges/fines, then these must still be paid to bring your account up to date. Future instalments will still show on your Finance Widget on the Student Portal, but all follow up processes will be paused until the suspension is lifted and the relevant credit note for the period of suspension (which is, as yet, unknown) applied.  If you have any queries on this matter, please contact Ask4Help. 

Can I apply to pause my accommodation rent, and does it apply to my building?

Given the exceptional circumstances as outlined by the Government on 4th January regarding national lockdown, the University has taken the decision to offer students in University-managed accommodation, who are not currently living in their accommodation and are subsequently now no longer able to return, the option to pause rent payments from Monday 11th January 2021 (the first date of the new term) for the duration of the lockdown period. Students remaining in accommodation during the lockdown period will be expected to continue to pay their rent as normal.

For clarity, this applies to the following residences:

• Claude Gibb

• Lovaine Hall

• Glenamara House

• Trinity Square

• New Bridge

• Winn Studios

If you are not currently living in your accommodation, then you are now able to apply to pause your rent from Monday 11th January 2021. The pausing of rent payments means that you will not be (and never will be) charged for the period that you are not using your accommodation and this will remain in effect until either (i) you return to your accommodation; or (ii) the date in on which the government allows you to return to your accommodation, whichever comes sooner (currently indicated as being mid-February).  

 

Can I terminate my accommodation tenancy agreement?

To clarify, we are not inviting students to terminate their accommodation tenancies - students are expected to return to campus and their accommodation once restrictions have eased and remain liable for all additional payments beyond this date.

How will I know that my accommodation rent has been paused?

If you are applying to pause your accommodation rent, then this will be credited as a reimbursement to your rent account which will be deducted from your final rent instalment. You are still expected to make payments as per your original rent schedule which can be viewed under the finance widget on the student portal and the reimbursement will not be applied to your account until government restrictions have eased, but please do not worry, once this happens we will make the relevant changes and apply this reimbursement to your account automatically. If you have any queries on this matter, then please contact Ask4Help.

I am experiencing financial hardship – what should I do?

The University Student, Life and Wellbeing Team are here to support you. Please visit the Student Portal and raise an enquiry with that team in the usual way.

I have to, or want to, stay in my accommodation – what should I do?

If you are still living in your University-managed accommodation, you will still be expected to pay rent for the lockdown period.  

 

My building isn’t one of the ones set out above and my landlord will not give any rent pause or rent reduction. What can I do?

We are aware that many students have tenancy agreements with private sector landlords and we encourage them to take a similar stance to the University at this difficult time.

There will unfortunately be landlords though who will not be willing to offer a pause in rent payments. If this is the case, and you are experiencing serious financial difficulties, please contact the University Student Life and Wellbeing Team via the Student Portal.

Should I return to my accommodation at this time?

Guidance on travelling to your accommodation

We want to again make it clear that in line with government guidance we are asking all students (except those students who have learning in exempt programmes) to stay at home and not to return to Newcastle to their University accommodation at this time. I would also like to remind you that you should not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time no matter where that might be.

 

Advice if you have to return to your accommodation

To ensure that your arrival back is as safe as possible, we ask the following:

  • Please bring only one other member of your family (or other member of your personal bubble) to assist you and please limit the time they spend in your residence
  • Please adhere to social distancing and other health and safety guidance and wear a face covering when transiting through the buildings
  • Please do not return to your residence to collect belongings unless it is essential to do so
  • If you have not yet booked your Covid-19 tests at Sport Central, you should do so to coincide with your return. If you are unable to take a test, then you should isolate for 10 days in your accommodation.

 

Thank you for your ongoing assistance as we face and work to overcome the challenges of Covid-19 together. 

 

What do I need to do in order to pause my accommodation rent?

Students who wish to apply to pause accommodation rent payments in their University-managed accommodation should make a formal request via email to Cr.accommodation.fees@northumbria.ac.uk by Friday 22nd January. Your email must include:

• your name

• student number

• the full address of your accommodation (including flat number)

Once this request has been processed, you will receive a confirmation email from the accommodation team – please bear with us while we work through a large volume of correspondence.

Why is my instalment from 15 January still showing as “due”?

The University’s rent payment dates are aligned to the Student Loan payment dates and split the tenancy in three portions. This is done so that students can align their payments to the time when they have received their funding. As a result, the instalment (instalment 2) which becomes due on 15 January covers both a backward and forward looking time period; it is not simply for the period 11th January – 15th February 2021.

These instalment 2 invoices had already been generated prior to the University announcement and we are therefore having to apply the rent rebate to student accounts retrospectively, once a student applies to us. We, of course, also do not yet know the end date of the suspension. Given that this means that the exact adjustment cannot be quantified, we will therefore need to adjust the final rent instalment which is due 1st May 2021 (at set out in the communication to students in University Accommodation).

Recognising that students may be facing hardship please also note that:

  • If you are unable to pay the instalment 2 rent you should contact Student Life and Wellbeing who will work with you to agree a suitable solution.
  • The University will not be taking any enforcement action (i.e. debt recovery procedures will be suspended) for students who have requested a rent suspension until the next rent instalment (instalment 3) becomes due. 

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