Coronavirus Information

This page has been created to assist students in understanding how recent coronavirus legislation affects student tenants and to clear up any confusion regarding student accommodation and coronavirus.

Due to Covid-19/Coronavirus a new piece of emergency legislation has been enacted by the Scotland Government which grants students living in PBSAs permission to terminate tenancies, for reasons related to coronavirus, earlier than the lease’s stated end date.

PBSAs - Purpose Built Student Accommodation Providers - are private student halls of residence, such as: Unite, U Student, Student Roost, Fresh Student Living etc...

You are encouraged to keep up to date with any information and advice that is issued by your accommodation provider and the Scottish Government. If you are unsure of how your rights are affected, or how legislation affects you, contact RGU:Union President (Communication & Democracy), AUSA Vice President for Welfare or NESCol SA Regional President.


Important Information and Key Details


The Legislation - Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020

The legislation that has been passed is the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020. Below is the relevant extract which applies to students who have a student residential tenancy:

Tenant’s ability to bring tenancy to an end

2  -  (1) A tenant may, for a reason relating to coronavirus, bring to an end a student residential tenancy by giving to the landlord a notice which fulfils the requirements described in paragraph 3.

    -  (2) A tenancy comes to an end in accordance with sub-paragraph (1) on the day on which the notice states (in whatever terms) that it is to come to an end.

Requirements for notice to be given by tenant

3  -  (1) A notice fulfils the requirements referred to in paragraph 2(1) if—
    -  (a) it is in writing, and
    -  (b) it states, as the day on which the tenancy is to end, a day that is after the last day of the minimum notice period.

 

The Legislation - Temporary

The Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020 is a temporary piece of legislation. It is currently set to be in place until 30th September 2021.

Therefore, the last date on which you can submit notice to terminate your lease is 30th September 2021, after which it is expected that all relevant legislation will revert to standard.

The original end date (30th September 2020) was extended to 31st March 2021 and then further extended to 30th September 2021. Should it be required, Scottish Ministers have the power to further extend the temporary period for which these changes are in place. Therefore, a further extension by the Scottish Government cannot be ruled out.

 

Terminating a Tenancy - Reasons

As stated in the legislation, you may, for a reason related to coronavirus, bring to an end a student residential tenancy. Therefore, the reason stated in your notice should be for reasons related to coronavirus.

The Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020 does not define, or give examples of, reasons relating to coronavirus but these could include financial hardship caused by the epidemic, the cancellation of in person teaching, or because students have returned to their family home in accordance with government guidance on physical distancing.

The Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020 does not require students who wish to terminate their agreements to confirm what their reason relating to coronavirus is, nor does it require students to provide evidence of that reason. It is expected that accommodation providers do not refuse to accept a notice due to a lack of reasons being given or because they disagree with the reasons being provided.

 

Terminating a Tenancy - Notice

Notice should be given in writing (this includes electronic communication where both parties agree to this) to your accommodation provider stating the day on which the tenancy will end (i.e. after the last day the minimum notice period applies). Students should check their tenancy agreement to see what has been agreed about how to serve notice/communicate with landlords.

 

Terminating a Tenancy - Notice Period

Students who entered into a student residential tenancy agreement and had occupied the property before 27th May 2020 can give seven days notice.

Students who have entered into a student residential tenancy agreement on or after 27th May 2020, or have not yet occupied the property, can give 28 days notice while the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020 is in force.


Important Information about PBSAs in Aberdeenshire


  • Aparto

    Aparto has yet to announce publicly any measures to support student tenants financially during the current term of restrictions. However, they have recently updated their cancellation policy which you can find here so that if you book accommodation for September 2021, you will be allowed to cancel your booking before 31st May without penalty. However, be advised they make no mention on their cancellation policies of government legislation which allows students to terminate their tenancies due to a reason related to coronavirus. You can find out more information about the company’s response to coronavirus on its FAQ page.

  • Ardmuir (Mezzino)

    Ardmuir has a managing agent (Mezzino) operating their properties in Aberdeen. Mezzino has yet to announce publicly any measures to support student tenants financially during the current term of restrictions although they have stated to us that they have offered tenants rent reductions for those who were unable to return to their properties. You can find out more information about the company’s response to coronavirus here. However, be advised they make no mention on their cancellation policies or FAQs of government legislation which allows students to terminate their tenancies due to a reason related to coronavirus.

  • Fresh Student Living

    Fresh Student Living has yet to announce publicly any measures to support student tenants financially during the current term of restrictions. You can find out more information about the company’s response to coronavirus here, and you can find its FAQs here.

  • Hello Student

    Hello Student has yet to announce publicly any measures to support current student tenants financially during the current term of restrictions. They have announced that if you book a room for 21/22 at any of their properties you will be able to cancel prior to 31 May 2021, without any penalties or questions asked. However, be advised they make no mention on their cancellation policies of government legislation which allows students to terminate their tenancies due to a reason related to coronavirus. The company has also committed to supporting students and to discuss student tenant's needs individually by calling or emailing student tenants individually to discuss support requirements.

  • Homes for Students

    Homes for Students are yet to publicly announce any measures to support students financially during the current term of restrictions. They have confirmed to us that 28-day notice periods submitted by student tenants (in writing) to terminate their lease for a reason related to coronavirus, as per the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020 (Act), have been accepted and that Homes for Students continue to do all they can to support students who have chosen to invoke the Act without delay. However, be advised that there is no mention of tenants rights to terminate their tenancies due to a reason related to coronavirus on their website or FAQ page. Additionally, they have announced a Covid-19 Special Cancellation Policy (2020-21 Academic Year) and you can find out more information about the company’s response to coronavirus here.

  • Student Roost

    Student Roost have confirmed that any of their residents in Scotland who wish to cancel their tenancy under the terms of the Act, should write directly to their property expressing their wish to cancel under the Act, and state that their request to cancel is for a reason relating to coronavirus. They have confirmed that no further information or evidence will be requested, however, the tenant may be offered the option of deferring their tenancy until 2021/22 although this is entirely optional. Should a tenant only wish to cancel and thus not defer, then Student Roost shall confirm with the tenant that they have provided 28 days’ notice for termination of lease. This is also confirmed within their published Coronavirus Guidance in which they state that if a tenant in one of their Scottish properties wishes to terminate their lease for a reason related to coronavirus, then they are advised that "the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Bill has now become law [with] more information is available here." Additionally, Student Roost had announced a rent discount of up to 6 weeks of rent payments. This has now ended and if you have any questions regarding this, you should contact Student Roost for further information. You can find out more information about the company’s response to coronavirus on its FAQ page.

  • U Student

    U Student has yet to announce publicly any measures to support student tenants financially during the current term of restrictions. They have stated here there if you want to cancel your tenancy early, their current cancellation policy is still in place and that you should contact your Accommodation Team to discuss further. However, be advised they make no mention on their cancellation policies of government legislation which allows students to terminate their tenancies due to a reason related to coronavirus. You can find out more information about the company’s response to coronavirus on its Coronavirus Advice page.

  • Unite Students

    Unite Students have stated that tenants in their Scotland accommodation sites who terminate their lease due to a reason related to coronavirus are not required to provide any evidence to be released from said tenancy. No mention is made on their website of your right to cancel your tenancy for a reason related to coronavirus in line with government legislation but you are advised to contact your property team directly. Unite have also stated that their standard cancellation policy applies for any requests which are not related coronavirus. Additionally, Unite had also provided eligible tenants (who have not requested to terminate their lease) with the option of applying for rent discounts should they have been unable to return to their accommodation due to Government restrictions. However, applications for this have now closed. This academic year, Unite have announced flexible tenancy start dates for students to defer commencement of tenancy agreements where necessary. You can find out more information about the company’s response to coronavirus on its Covid-19 FAQ page.


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