University of Nottingham students have threatened a rent strike as the UK goes into lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.
New lockdown measures that were announced by the UK government earlier this week meant that students would not be allowed to travel back to the university. However, these students will still be charged rent by the University of Nottingham.
Students call for a rent strike
Hundreds of students expressed support for the rent strike, with some terming the move by the university to continue charging them rent as disgusting considering they were being asked to pay £161-per-week for an empty room. The students have threatened to withhold their rent, with the Notts Rent Strike campaign group asking students who cannot get back to their accommodation to not bother paying rent.
However, the University of Nottingham said it was awaiting guidance from the government before it makes its decision.
The organizers are also calling for a 40 percent reduction of rent by the university and full deposit refunds for students who will be asked to leave the university premises due to lockdowns, even though they have paid. They also highlighted their success, indicating they already had over 900 students pledging to withhold their rent fees. To their calculations, this would amount to £1.8m of withheld university accommodation fees.
Notts Rent Strike spokesperson indicated that students had become frustrated by being asked to pay for services since September, that they were either not getting fully or were not receiving at all. The spokesperson continued by saying that it was beyond reasonable for their rent strike to go forward since they were not receiving the services they were being charged for.
The Students’ Union’s community officer supported the call for a rent strike in the university. The officer was joined by Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome who also indicated support for the strike, declaring solidarity with the striking students.