Briefing note published on student accommodation during pandemic

The briefing is the first in a series looking at how universities and other higher education providers have responded to the coronavirus pandemic.

Exterior shot of windows on a student accommodation building

The Office for Students (OfS) has launched the first in a series of briefing notes designed to share the ways in which universities and colleges are supporting students during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Today’s briefing looks at accommodation, which has emerged as a pressing concern for many students during the pandemic.

The briefing shows how many universities are taking a fair and balanced approach to decisions around accommodation charges. There are also good examples of universities and colleges working closely with students' unions in order to support the wider wellbeing of students who have needed to remain in university accommodation, as well as showing how some private accommodation companies have responded positively to student concerns.

The importance of clear and up-to-date information for students is highlighted in the briefing, on issues including:

  • how accommodation is being maintained, cleaned and kept safe
  • how to self-isolate in houses with communal areas
  • rent payments, including on what help students can access if they are unable to pay their rent
  • how the university is working with student accommodation companies and private landlords to try to ensure that students are fairly treated
  • how students can maintain their wellbeing, physical and mental health during physical distancing.

Anonymised comments from students have been included in the briefing. While some of these highlight examples of good practice, students also express concerns on issues including the cancellation of rental contracts.

Further briefings, which do not represent regulatory advice or guidance by the OfS but instead focus on the sharing of ideas and responses, will be published in the coming weeks.

Read the briefing note
Published 22 April 2020

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