Universities have asked hundreds of students to leave their residences during the COVID pandemic, Granthshala can reveal.
During the last academic year, more than 340 students were given notice to leave (NTQ) – which tells tenants to vacate within a certain time or face eviction, according to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests Shows university scores.
Unions have called it “deeply disappointing” and “absolutely appalling”, and say it raises concerns over logistics and safety.
At least 42 universities issued NTQs to students during the 2020-2021 academic year, including during this year’s national lockdown, Granthshala Have got.
Reasons included violation of COVID guidelines, drug-related offences, unpaid rent and noise issues.
While some were later reversed, many students vacated their accommodation within the time period prescribed by the NTQ, which was a month in some cases.
Edinburgh Napier University served 40 students with NTQ between the start of the previous academic year to May, an FOI request showed.
All left their residence within the stipulated time frame, which would be at least 28 days.
Reasons including anti-social behaviour, violation of covid lockdown rules, excessive noise and unauthorized guests.
Greenwich University provided 68 NTQ of rent arrears in February to cover the academic year up to that date and a service for practical reasons.
Most of these were canceled following payment of outstanding rent by the students, while NTQ was suspended for the behaviour. However, six students left their residence as per NTQ.
London’s Queen Mary University (QMUL) asked 29 students to leave university accommodation within 28 days between the start of the academic year and the end of May for repeated or serious violations of rules related to COVID, covering smoke detectors. and drug use. , according to an FOI response.
Most of the FOIs left voluntarily at the time of request, while others were serving their notice period.
The university said that if the students do not leave within 28 days, it will not enforce the eviction as a court order would require. “We generally work with the resident to persuade them to leave,” a Queen Mary spokeswoman said.
A QMUL student who wished to remain anonymous told Granthshala She was told in March to leave her university residence within a month to cover the fire alarm in her flat with a sock.
She mentioned in her appeal the fact that her parents do not live in the UK. This was rejected and the student, who was then in her first year, went to live with another family member in the UK.
“It looked like a very useless ploy to kick me out,” said a student who was part of a protest group against the rent strike at the university. Granthshala.
A QMUL spokesperson denied that NTQ was issued to any student for participating in the rent strike.
Other universities that have served students with NTQ during the previous academic year include Surrey, who issued at least 21, and King’s College London (KCL), who served at least 18.
The University of Bath issued six NTQs between January and April this year, including a second offense of sexual misconduct and possession of cannabis. Ten more notices were issued in early February for violations of COVID rules: hosting parties in student housing and failure to self-isolate.
At the University of Southampton, seven students were asked to leave the hall in the spring due to Covid-related violations.
National Union of Students (NUS) president Larissa Kennedy told Granthshala It was “extremely disappointing” that hundreds of students were served with NTQ for their accommodation “during the greatest public health crisis of this generation”.
“The pandemic has not only made it difficult to walk logically, but also put the affected students, their families and flatmates at risk,” he said.
“It is universities, which are supposed to have a duty to look after their own students, making them homeless makes it doubly shameful.
“Students are expected to extort rent but are then singled out for minor offenses that will not even evict them from private rented accommodation.”
Tenants were given more protection against eviction during the Covid pandemic, requiring the government to give landlords longer notices to take back the property.
But students in university halls can be classified as occupants with basic protection, and were not covered by the long notice period during the pandemic, according to the charity shelter.
University UK, which represents more than 100 institutions, said the NTQ is “used as a final sanction, particularly when students’ behavior or activities may endanger the wider student community”.
But Joe Grady of the University and College Union told Granthshala: “It is absolutely appalling to see that some universities were busy threatening students not to pay their rent, as the government imposed a Covid removal ban.
“Universities that served notices to students to forgo outstanding rent have serious questions to answer – they seem to see students as cash cows, milking them when they run out of money. is fed and released.”
Granthshala Understands that none of King’s College London’s NTQs were issued for rent arrears, nor during the national lockdown, and that there were no evictions.
A QMUL spokesperson said students are asked to leave only because of “serious breaches of contracts” and that the university only resorts to NTQ “very rarely”.
He said that when students put their own or others’ lives at risk – including by disabling fire safety equipment or committing repeated COVID violations – the university “has no choice but to request their leave”. “.
A Greenwich University spokesperson said that none of the students who were issued the NTQ were evicted and that it works closely with students facing financial difficulties. He said additional help was introduced during the pandemic, including a promise to release students …
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /