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Scottish Student Tenant Unions launches new campaign “Listen to Students: Cancel Rent!’’

The Union of Scottish Student Tenant Unions (USSTU) launched their campaign “Listen to Students: Cancel Rent!” in January as a response to the precarious situation students are living in due to Covid-19.

By: Mireia Jiménez

Caption: "Rent Strike Banner at the March for Europe" - Whitehall, London - 2 July 2016. by alisdare1 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The campaign is an answer to figures shared by the National Union of Students (NUS) which found that two-thirds of students in Scotland were worried about their ability to pay rent with a quarter of respondents saying that they have not recently been able to pay it in full.

They demand that universities cancel the rent of all students in accommodation until face-to-face teaching resumes, alongside the extension of hardship funds and the protection of international students who cannot pay rent upfront.

They have also called the Scottish Government to support this rent cancellation as well as providing a rent relief model where the financial burden is placed on landlords instead of students.

The NUS also demanded that Student Tenant Unions be heard in the national debate on rents.

NUS Scotland President Matt Crilly said: “We are seeing the largest mobilisation of student housing activists for decades in Scotland”

“NUS stands in solidarity with students organising to better their circumstances. We need to see urgent intervention from the government to support students who are paying exorbitant rent, in many cases for accommodation they cannot use.”

“This movement will continue to grow, as students demand action from the government, universities and landlords.”

Meanwhile, Ian Daniels from Living Rent Aberdeen said they have been successful in their demands for non-refundable rent reductions and added: “Living Rent has been doing member defence cases with students, mainly with members who find themselves in the impossible position of having taken on accommodation because the uni encouraged them to come and then after Christmas the Scottish Government told them to not return.”

Universities and Scottish Government have remained firm in their advice for students to not return to their term-time accommodation after the Winter Break, regardless of the rent being paid.

For more information on current work by the Union, visit USSTU’s Twitter @USSTU4


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