Coronavirus/COVID-19: Your questions answered
The following information and advice has been put together to help our current tenants and future tenants. Whilst we will endeavour to keep all our answers relevant and up to date in these ever changing times, Public Health provides specific advice, including the current situation in the UK. Their advice is updated at 2.00pm each day and at all times the latest advice can be consulted at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
CURRENT TENANT (Student Specific) FAQ
My tenancy does not end until June/July/August but I have already vacated the property can I stop paying rent or claim a refund:
Your accommodation has been provided to you as per the terms of your contract. The decision to suspend face to face studies was taken by your University in light of Government guidance to limit the spread of the virus. This is a decision that is out of our control. Whilst we are aware some University residences have agreed to refunds, you are renting private accommodation and therefore it does not come under this category. Under current circumstances the Government has not offered any concessions to private landlords to enable us to offer a rebate. As such the rent will be due in full up to the end of the contractual term of your tenancy.
I have lost my part time job, or my parents/sponsor are unable to support me and I may not be able to pay the next rent instalment.
The minister for universities has confirmed that students will receive their next instalment/third term student loans, therefore you should continue to make your regular rent payment. If you cannot make full payment you should make whatever payment you can and advise us immediately of any shortfalls so we can agree a payment plan for the remaining balance. We will support you as much as possible and we can confirm that so long as a payment plan is agreed any deferred or late payments as a direct result of COVID-19 will not attract any penalty interest.
– To set up a payment plan see contact details at the end of this FAQ
I am still living in the property, my belongings are still in the property, what if the lockdown is still in place at the end of June /when my tenancy ends
The current government advice/quote from the Universities minister is that “students currently remaining at university in Scotland should now stay where they are and not attempt to travel. If they are living in student halls, or private rented accommodation, they should remain there and stay indoors while current restrictions are in force”.
Under normal circumstances you would be legally required to vacate the property as per the terms of your tenancy agreement. These are ever changing times and we are monitoring this situation on a day by day basis so cannot give you a definitive answer to this, however should the country still be in lockdown as we near the last date of your tenancy and you are still living in the property or your belongings are in the property you should contact us for further instruction & guidance at that time.
I want to move out now – as all the offices are closed how do I hand my keys in?
The current government advice is that we should all be staying in our homes which means your current accommodation where you are at this moment in time, so we can only recommend that you should not be considering moving out. However if you have moved out or do feel it is essential to move out and safe to do so adhering to the government restrictions and want to leave your keys: Please lock your door, put your fob and key in an envelope with your name and post through your numbered mail box on the 1st floor. Please then email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know and we will collect your fob immediately.
I want to report a repair/maintenance in my accommodation – will you still attend in the lockdown
Following government advice in the aid of stopping the spread of the virus and in the interest of your safety as well as that of our maintenance team we are currently only attending urgent/essential repairs. This includes (but is not limited to):
if there is a problem with the fabric of the building, for example the roof is leaking
if a boiler is broken, no heating or hot water
if there is a plumbing issue, water leak, or lack of washing or toilet facilities
if white goods such as fridge, cooker or washing machine (if applicable)
if there is a security-critical problem, such as a broken window or external door.
All Repairs should reported to us via FixFlo here as usual, we will advise you if this is on the critical repair list and if so we will liaise with you to arrange to send someone to attend. If it is not on the critical repair list we will make a record of the request but we will not attend until the lock down restrictions have been lifted.
Why do you need to know if I am self-isolating & if it is because I am at risk or if I may have symptoms?
This is important so we can help stop the spread of the virus and be aware of any potential risk to you, as a tenant (if you come under the high risk category) or if youwould pose a risk to anyone (if you have symptoms or the virus) who may need to come into your apartment to carry out essential repairs or testing.
Why have you asked me to let you know if I have “temporarily” or “permanently” vacated my property?
To enable us to monitor the property for security and insurance purposes.
FUTURE TENANT (Student Specific) FAQ
What if the lockdown is still in place when I should be commencing my tenancy in July, August or September?
As the government is currently only issuing lockdown restrictions based on a 2-3 week period we cannot currently predict whether there will be any restrictions in place, we will continue to monitor government announcements and further instructions will be sent out to our future tenants nearer the time.
I have decided I will not be coming to university for the 2020/21 academic year can I cancel my contract
Under current circumstances the Government has not offered any other guidance or passed any new legislation therefore your contractual obligations as per the terms of your Tenancy agreement are subject to statutory law and still apply and you are unable to cancel your contract.
CURRENT (Residential/Non-student) FAQ
My new tenancy agreement is due to start in the next few weeks, can I still move into the property
The advice from the government it not fully clear on this and mainly issued with relation to house sales/purchases and moving a whole household, asking people to delay where possible, however if they can’t recommending they should do it as safely as they can adhering to the latest advice in social distancing. Therefore under the guidelines at the time of writing, in theory if you were confident you could move yourself into the property without breaking the social distancing guidelines, whilst we would not be able to come and do a check in with you we can remotely arrange for you to collect your keys. We recommend you speak to the office managing your future tenancy to discuss your personal circumstances and agree appropriate arrangements – you can contact us on email@example.com as usual.
Other useful links to help are:
Following reading all the above should you still need to contact a member of the team to either discuss a rental payment plan or any other urgent issue, please use the following email:
Phone lines are open Monday – Friday 10.00 a.m. – 17.00 p.m. For any emergencies outside these times please refer to the emergency out of hours procedure.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis that people should stay in their homes and those in the high risk category have to self-isolate for 12 weeks we do have a reduced workforce, we are also experiencing higher than normal enquiries at present. We will endeavour to respond as soon as we can.
We thank you for your cooperation and patience during these difficult times to keep our staff and you, our tenants safe.