Why, during a pandemic, did the Scottish Government and Universities encourage tens of thousands of young people from across the UK, and further afield, to leave their homes and move into large overcrowded student accommodation?
The only logical conclusion was because Universities were worried if the Students didn’t, they would lose millions in revenue with Halls of Residence and Student Villages lying empty for the rest of the year.
Clearly, the Scottish Government must have been aware of the risk to students and the wider public of the Coronavirus spreading, but instead of giving the same advice they have given to others to work at home, they cynically approved plans to get students back, to pay rent for their accommodation.
What makes matters worse is the likelihood of further lockdowns and restrictions over the next six months must be high, with suggestions students will not be able to go home at Christmas.
Should they stay or Should they Go?
It begs the question where is the sense in Students remaining in their student accommodation?
It is expensive, clearly not serving the purpose many wanted it for, to be close to classes and is clearly more high risk than being with their families.
Why not use the rights the Scottish Parliament gave them in the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act (No 2) Act 2020 and leave their accommodation by giving 28 days notice to terminate their tenancies?
Even if students do not want to leave, threatening to do so on mass is likely to wring more concessions out the Scottish Government and Universities than any threatened rent strike, such as that which has been proposed at Glasgow University.
The prospect of losing tens of thousands of tenants, in a month’s time, will force Universities to face up to the risk of losing millions in revenue over the next six months.
It is hard to believe, in the face of such a likelihood, Universities and the Scottish Government will not offer more concessions. Students also would not need to worry about the legal problems arising from a rent strike: such as breach of contract, rent arrears and disciplinary action being taken by Universities.
And if the situation is not improved within the next month, they can at least return home, save £600 per month in rent, and continue their studies at home, probably enjoying more freedom than they would if they remained in their student accommodation.
Even under full lockdown conditions, moving home was still allowed if it was unavoidable: if your tenancy has come to an end, it is unavoidable. And how can anyone blame you for exercising a right that the Scottish Parliament gave you only a few months ago, because it was anticipated that during the lockdown, many students would want to return to their homes.
What has changed since then? I would suggest not a lot, except Universities fear losing millions of pounds.
How do you Terminate a Student Tenancy?
To terminate a Student Tenancy, the notice that you give must be in writing and delivered to your landlord. It also must be for reasons relating to the Coronavirus.
This could be because you only moved into accommodation to be close to the University in order to attend classes. As these classes will not be resuming and instead will be delivered virtually, because of the Coronavirus, there is no requirement for you to continue with your lease.
The Notice must also state the day you intend to leave your tenancy, which should be 28 clear days from the date the Notice is provided to the University.