The Advice Service has received a lot of queries relating to COVID-19, and the impact on different elements of your University experience. Based on this we have put together a list of frequently asked questions, to help you find some of the answers you might be looking for.
For further information on different issues, you can also visit SU President Oge’s blog post .
If you have any queries which aren’t answered here, feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or (+44)0116 223 1132/ 1184/ 1109. We’re open 10am-4pm, Monday to Friday.
If you have any questions which specifically relate to your department or course, we recommend that you get in touch with your department directly. The University also have their own guidance at this page.
The University has now announced their decision regarding the accommodation fees for Term 3. An email was sent out to all students on the 24th March 2020, informing them of this decision.
You can view the email sent on the University’s Staff & Student news and updates page and additional details on the Information for Students page.
Below is a summary of the most relevant points
Will I pay for my third term accommodation?
If you do return home and you are currently based in University-managed student accommodation, you will not be charged for the third term if you leave your accommodation by 5th April 2020. If you are unable to fully check out and clear your room you must notify us by emailing the Accommodation Team on email@example.com provide them with the details of your situation, together with your name, student number, your hall of residence and room number.
What if I have already paid for my third term accommodation?
If you have already paid for your third term accommodation and you notify us that you will be checking out, we will provide a refund to the original account the fees were paid from. Please bear with us as this may take some time due to the current disruption caused by the Covid-19 situation.
What do I need to do if I plan on vacating my room by 5 April?
Make sure you remove all your belongings, tidy your room, close the windows, lock the door, and return your room key/fob to your hall reception.
Please do not leave the accommodation without returning your key/fob.
What if the academic campus reopens during the third term and I want to come back to my accommodation?
If we are able to reopen campus and you wish to come back, accommodation will be available for you to book through the accommodation team. More information on how to book accommodation will be included in future information if campus reopens during the third term.
The SU Advice Service are currently receiving enquiries from students asking what their legal obligations are in relation to their accommodation. These questions have mainly been based around refund of rent, and whether contracts can be terminated.
You may be aware that the University has given students in its halls the option to be released from their contract, following close work with the Students Union Executive team. A letter , co-signed by the Students Union Executive team and University Senior Management, has now been sent to all private accommodation urging them to release students from their contracts at the earliest opportunity.
Unfortunately, these external accommodation agreements are still legally binding, until providers decide whether they will agree to end agreements early, or negotiate with residents/tenants. This is a key priority for the Students’ Union at the moment and we are encouraging each private provider to release students from their contracts early, if they require it.
Our advice is as follows:
- As you are legally liable for your rent, you should continue to pay it until you are informed you are allowed to leave by your landlord.
- Speak to your landlord or agent and see if you can negotiate an agreement with them. Whilst there is no obligation for them to make any concessions, you may be able to arrange something. Areas you could look to negotiate on include the amount of rent you should pay and any pre-set utility charges that could be waived. We have a template letter here that you could use as a starting point when writing to your letting agent or landlord.
- Your contract will usually say that you need to give notice if you are going to be away from the accommodation for a period of time – check your contract and let your landlord/agent know if you are going to be away.
- Check whether your contract has a break-clause. If in doubt, contact the University’s Free Legal Advice Clinic or Citizens Advice.
- If you have signed an accommodation contract for the academic year 2020/21 - this agreement will still be binding unless it has a break clause (see above).
- If you have paid a deposit and are moving out, ask when you will get your deposit back. Deposit scheme rules vary, but you may only have 3 months (less one day) from the end of the tenancy, or from vacating the property, to access the alternative dispute resolution service that the schemes offer.
The University of London Housing Services has additional useful information about Covid-19 and Private Housing Rights, which you may find useful.
If you are in a private hall of residence, the above information generally applies to you too. More and more halls are giving students the option to be released early from their contract if they want. Please email the Advice Service if you want to check whether your halls are included.
Unfortunately the July 2020 graduation ceremonies have been postponed. Anyone who was due to graduate in July 2020 will have the opportunity to attend a graduation ceremony at a later date, that will be for the class of 2020 in its own right.
You will still be awarded your degree, with the classification, at the originally agreed time. The University will aim to issue degree certificates as soon as possible.
More information about the impact on graduations can be found here.
The University are removing the need for students to have to get a medical certificate for mitigating circumstances, to reduce pressure on the NHS and to recognise the difficulty students might have in accessing this information.
They have agreed to provide all students with a revised list of what will be considered acceptable mitigating circumstances, given the unprecedented challenges faced by students right now.
The University have promised us that bad network coverage, limited IT facilities, caring responsibilities, difficult working environments at home are things that will all be considered acceptable mitigating circumstances, and this is not an exhaustive list.
It is important to note that each issue will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
If you need advice on submitting a mitigating circumstances form, please get in touch with us.
If you want to submit a complaint about the impact COVID-19 has had on your studies, you are able to do so if you have teaching that was not replaced by any alternative.
To submit a complaint you will need to complete the form found at this page.
If you would like someone to check through your form before submission, feel free to send a draft copy to the Advice Service via firstname.lastname@example.org .