Over two-thirds of student renters (71 per cent) in Scotland are concerned about their ability to pay rent with a quarter having been unable to pay rent (25 per cent) and a third unable to pay bills (33 per cent) during the pandemic, a new survey from NUS Scotland has found.
These problems are likely to be exacerbated with the most recent lockdown announcement that has left the majority of student renters still liable to pay for accommodation that they are not allowed to access until the middle of February.
The Coronavirus and Students Survey phase III took place in November and involved 653 students from Scotland, building upon the previous research issued by NUS in April and September 2020. With 40 per cent of students living in rented accommodation of some sort, the survey showed that one in seven students believe they would not be allowed to leave their tenancy agreement early due to the pandemic.
The proportion of students living with parents/guardians has gone up since July, now representing 32 per cent of students compared to 13 per cent, indicating some students have had to reconsider their living arrangements as a result of the pandemic.
Commenting Matt Crilly NUS Scotland President said:
“It’ll come as no surprise that over two-thirds of students are concerned about their ability to make rental payments, and this will have only increased with the most recent lockdown announcement.
“These survey results highlight the crucial need for intervention from the Scottish Government. As things stand, students are being expected to pay rent for accommodation they can't use. We continue to call on the Scottish Government to ensure urgent financial support is available so that no student is left out of pocket while following public health guidance.
“It’s also a real concern that many students feel their notice to end their tenancy would not be accepted as students have a legal right to leave their accommodation, which all landlords have a duty to uphold.
“Throughout the pandemic students have lacked the certainty they need to leave their accommodation contracts early. If students don’t need to return this semester they should be told now. Students deserve better than yet another term of uncertainty.”
Find out more about the Students Deserve Better campaign.