Student accommodation: renters face stress over tenancies in Covid crisis

Uncertainty over the financial arrangements covering lockdowns, university closures or illness

When Risa Chauhan, 20, started looking for somewhere to live in her third year studying at LSE in London, the coronavirus crisis had already hit. She and her housemates were keen to make arrangements that meant they would not end up paying for a home they could not use.

The group, who will be living in a private houseshare, was hoping letting agencies and landlords would be flexible. This was not the case, however. One of the first obstacles they encountered was their contract, which was in the form of a joint tenancy rather than three separate tenancy agreements. “As joint tenants, it made us all responsible for paying the rent. For instance, if none of us could pay the rent, our landlord could pursue any of our guarantors and ask them to pay off the rent arrears, whereas with a separate tenancy agreement I’m just liable for my part of the rent.”

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