Encouraged by LSE's commitment to hybrid, in-person and online teaching in the Summer, students took out contracts with LSE Halls of Residence, Purpose Built Student Accommodation providers (PBSAs) and private landlords. However, the latest national lockdown means all in-person teaching has been moved online and campus remains largely closed, meaning many students are unable to return to these rented accommodations.
If anything is clear from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that Halls of Residences were not built to be isolated in. With cramped rooms, shared kitchens and bathrooms, and often no access to gardens, green spaces or social spaces, Halls this year have been a nightmare for many students. Equally the financial cost of halls and private accommodation has had its toll on students, with the NUS finding that half of student renters spend more than 75% of their monthly income on housing costs*.
While LSE announced changes to their Halls of Residence contracts** in January, those in private accommodation were left behind. No one should be paying for rooms they aren’t living in or don’t need.
Students need a way out. That’s why LSESU are campaigning for all Halls of Residence providers and PBSAs to offer the following to their student residents:
- The option to end their contract early, at no further cost to the student
- The option to ‘pause’ their contract, stopping rent payments until their return to their rooms at a later date
- A rent reduction of 30% to all students remaining in residence in acknowledgement of the financial toll of the pandemic on students
* Refinery Students Deserve Better Campaign
** LSE Accommodation Coronavirus Guidance
You can also find out more information
We are also here to empower you to campaign; here's how:
LSE HALLS: RENT STRIKE NOW
Find out more information on the campaign here.
How to lobby your private halls of residence
- Keep updated on the current policies
In January we wrote to all providers asking them to release students from contracts, allow students to pause their payments and to offer rent reductions of 30%. This spreadsheet outlines the policies and responses of Urbanest, Student Roost, Unite, Sanctuary Students, IQ and Scape - read them here.
- Group action is key
A collective voice is always stronger than on your own. Ask around your peers to see if a group has been set up and if not, start one! Create a Whatsapp group where you can organise a group lead, social media presence and your next steps.
- Create a petition
Set out 3-5 main objectives of the petition (you can use the 3 LSESU are lobbying for at the top of the page) and include personal stories of why you need these. Send to your Halls management, your warden and CC in LSE’s Accommodation team (firstname.lastname@example.org). Use this as a way to also open up dialogue with your Halls management.
- Write to your local MP
As constituents of their constituency, MPs need to listen to your concerns. Urbanest residents have successfully got Vauxhall MP Florence Eshalomi to take on their campaign as constituency work. Ask them to write to your private provider on your behalf and how they can support you. We have provided a template that you can use here.
If your provider is refusing to meaningfully engage with you, it might be time to escalate your campaigning. There are lots of ways to do this including: sending email ‘blasts’ to management, using IG stories, leaving reviews on open forums like Google and TSR.
In the coming weeks, the SU will be collating a ‘guide’ to Halls and accommodation providers for incoming LSE students where we outline how they’ve responded to the pandemic. For those providers who haven’t allowed contract flexibility or compassion to residents, we will be advising incoming students not to book places in those halls. If you think your Halls of private provider should be included on such a list, email email@example.com.
Forgotten Students: LSESU Review of Accommodation Providers
Read the report here.
MP Letter Template
We have provided a template that you can use here.
LSESU Advice and Hardship Fund
LSESU Advice Service
LSESU Hardship Fund
Link your hall campaign group
Urbanest campaign group, lead contact: Dan Lawes