Student unions/associations based in Aberdeenshire have been receiving reports which highlight a pattern of unfair treatment of student tenants by purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) providers. In response to these concerns, Right Your Rent was launched in partnership with AUSA and NESCol SA and was built on the success of the RGU:Union LiveRight and AUSA #RefundTheRent campaigns.
Right Your Rent aims to support student tenants in Aberdeenshire by ensuring that students living in the city are aware of their tenancy rights, informed about the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020, and by working with local PBSA providers to ensure student rights are protected and that the needs of student tenants are met.
Due to Covid-19/Coronavirus, the Scottish Government enacted the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020 which grants students living in PBSAs permission to terminate their tenancies for reasons related to coronavirus. You should aim to keep up-to-date with any information and advice issued by your accommodation provider and the Scottish Government but we are aware that legislation can sometimes be tricky to understand, and so we have broken it down below:
Frequently Asked Questions
We have collated some FAQs related to Covid-19 and accommodation - if you have any questions which are not answered below, please get in touch!
Where can I find the latest information regarding Covid-19?
The latest information and advice can be found at Scottish Government Advice and NHS: Public Health Advice. Also, the latest information from RGU can be found at COVID-19: Advice for Students, Staff & Community - it is important to check the RGU advice on a regular basis!
What reason can I give to end my tenancy?
The Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020 provides that a tenant may, for a reason relating to coronavirus, bring to an end a student residential tenancy. The Act does not define, or give examples of, reasons relating to coronavirus. It is reasonable to assume financial hardship caused by the epidemic, the cancellation of in person teaching and students returning to their family home (in accordance with government guidance on physical distancing) are examples of acceptable reasons. However, the Act does not require students to provide evidence proving that the reason is due to coronavirus nor does it require students to specify the reasons when giving notice.
Are the new notice periods a permanent change?
No. These changes only apply until 30/09/22 (the Scottish Parliament may extend the end date if deemed necessary).
I am in a joint tenancy, do both of us need to give notice?
The notice period outlined in the legislation also applies to joint tenancies. Both parties will need to agree to give notice.
I have paid a deposit already, can I get that back if I leave my accommodation?
You are encouraged to work with your accommodation provider to come to an appropriate resolution of issues around deposit payments. Students should check their tenancy agreement, and any recent communication issued by their accommodation provider, to see agreements concerning deposits. In some cases, return of the deposit will be dealt with through the tenancy deposit schemes and their dispute resolution service. If you have any questions regarding your deposit, contact ResLife.
What should I do if my accommodation provider won't let me terminate my tenancy?
If your accommodation provider is refusing to allow you to terminate your tenancy and you have submitted notice in line with the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020, seek advice from ResLife and/or Shelter Scotland.
Is there a template "Termination of Lease Notice Letter" I can use?
Yes, we have created a template Termination of Lease Notice Letter which you can use.
Is there anyone at the University who can help me with an issue with my PBSA?
Yes, if you require advice or support from the University regarding PBSAs and private student accommodation, contact ResLife.
I can no longer pay my rent due to loss of employment as a result of the pandemic, what can I do?
If you are suffering from financial hardship due to the pandemic, contact email@example.com.
If I terminate my lease for reasons related to coronavirus, can I get a refund from my PBSA for rent paid in advance?
The decision to offer refunds is dependent on the terms and conditions of the lease. If you have terminated your lease for reasons related to coronavirus and you have paid rent in advance, you should contact the manager at your residence by email to be given clarity on the provider’s position. You should also check your tenancy agreement in order to see what has been agreed to. If the provider or the tenancy agreement confirm that rent paid in advance will not be refunded, contact ResLife and/or Shelter Scotland.
I have emailed my PBSA but I have not received a reply, what should I do?
If your accommodation provider has not replied to your communication, ensure that any emails/letters you have sent to the provider have used the correct details. Check your tenancy agreement and the accommodation provider's website to ensure you are submitting your notice to the correct contact address. If you are certain you have sent communication to the appropriate contact address and the accommodation provider has still not replied, contact ResLife.
This page will be updated regularly to reflect the latest advice and government guidance. We would also encourage you to follow RGU:Union on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) to receive updates from your student officers on campaign progress.
In the instance you have an accommodation issue or have any questions about student tenant rights, check out the information provided by the external services listed below and reach out to one of the following support services or your association's student officer.
• Shelter Scotland: Student Accommodation Advice
• Citizens Advice Scotland: Coronavirus - what it means for you
• Student Information Scotland: Student Accommodation
University Departments and Union/Association Services
• ResLife: firstname.lastname@example.org
• RGU:Union Advice and Support: email@example.com
• AUSA Advice: firstname.lastname@example.org
• RGU:Union President (Communication and Democracy): email@example.com
• RGU:Union Vice President (Welfare): firstname.lastname@example.org
• AUSA Vice President for Welfare: email@example.com
• NESCol SA Regional President: firstname.lastname@example.org
Support Right Your Rent and provide feedback on your accommodation provider by leaving a rating and a review over at Live Right.