Coronavirus: Student FAQs

13 Jul 2020
By Unite Students, Staff writer at The Common Room

In light of the current situation and our update about living with us, we wanted to answer some of your most frequently asked questions.

The answers here are for those 19/20 customers who have already left, are planning to leave soon or would like to stay. This information will be updated as the situation develops.

Living with us in the 2020/2021 academic year? Please see our Help section for answers to commonly asked questions.

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FAQs for students that are still living with us

Please note, if you are planning to stay with us for the third term there may be a slight delay in your payment being taken.

If I want to extend my tenancy or stay for the summer, who do I need to contact?

If you need to extend your stay beyond the end of your tenancy because of restrictions to travel, you may be able to extend your stay. Find out more by contacting your property team.

If I stay, will I end up sharing my flat with new flatmates? 

This depends on the property you are staying at, but there is a possibility you may need to share with new flatmates.

I’m self-isolating. Can I move to an empty flat or studio so I am more isolated from others?

No. You will need to continue to self-isolate in your existing flat.

Where can I find information on how to self-isolate?

You can find up-to-date guidance on self-isolating in your Unite Students home here.

What should I do if my flatmates are not following social distancing rules?

If you don’t think your flatmates are following the social distancing guidelines, please contact a member of the team who will get in touch with your flatmates to remind them of these. If flatmates continue to fail to adhere to the guidelines we will take additional action. 

What provisions have been put in place for our safety?

The safety and security of our students and employees is our number one priority, and we will continue to keep your home safe and secure. As part of this, social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures are in place in all our buildings. We will continue to implement government advice as it develops.

Our teams will still actively manage and respond to fire alarms, welfare concerns and security issues, but the method of managing some of these may change. For example, a Welfare Lead may contact you by phone, rather than visiting a flat to ensure that we minimise the risk of infection and adhere to government guidelines.

Why is my reception closed?

All reception areas are now closed. If you need to get in touch with your property team please do so by emailing your property-specific email address or contacting them via WebChat.

I need to have something posted to me. Will you still accept my delivery?

Unfortunately, we are no longer able to accept your deliveries. We’d encourage you to leave your contact number with the delivery service so the driver can call you and you can collect from them directly. 

What facilities and services are still available at my property?

In line with government guidelines, all communal areas, including common rooms, gyms, receptions and study rooms, are now closed. These areas must not be used until further notice.

Bike stores and lifts remain open.

As we’re operating with a smaller team than normal, there may be a delay in our reaction to any maintenance requests. We appreciate your patience with this.

Will my property still be cleaned if the majority of students choose to move out?

All kitchen cleans have been postponed until further notice, but communal areas outside of flats will be cleaned thoroughly and regularly.

How do I get in touch with my property team?

If you need to get in touch with your property team please do so by emailing your property-specific email address or contacting them via WebChat.

I can’t go home, but I can’t afford to pay my rent. What do I do?

If you don’t think you’ll be able to pay your next rent instalment please contact your property team via email or WebChat.

What if I want to leave before the end of my tenancy?

The deadline to submit your request to cancel has now passed. If you haven’t submitted your request already, our standard cancellation policy applies.

Please note, if you make your payments to your educational institution, their cancellation terms and conditions will apply, so you will need to contact them directly.

I’d like to update my payment plan. How can I do this?

Please get in touch with your property team via email or WebChat to discuss updating your payment plan.

I can’t get home because of restrictions. Can I stay for the summer?

If you choose to stay for the third term, you will still have to pay any outstanding rent. If you need to extend your stay beyond the end of your tenancy because of restrictions to travel, please get in touch with your property team to discuss your options.

However, if you are wanting to leave but currently are unable to due to the government lockdown please refer below to What if I want to leave, but am currently self-isolating?

FAQs for students who have left or are planning to leave 

 

What if I want to leave, but am currently self-isolating?

If you are self-isolating because you have shown coronavirus symptoms, you will have to finish your 14 days of isolation before leaving.

If you don’t have any symptoms and would like to return home, you should do so if the rules in your country of residence allow you to travel.

Please note, if you decide to leave your tenancy early our standard cancellation policy applies. If you make your payments to your educational institution, their cancellation terms and conditions will apply, so you will need to contact them directly with your request.

Do I need to hand back my keys?

You’ll need to return all keys, fobs and postbox keys to your property team when you leave. If you have already left and are not returning, you must send them back to us as soon as possible. Please send them by post with your name, room number and student ID written clearly on a note alongside them in the envelope. These should be posted to your property.

If you have left but are planning to return to collect your possessions, please do not post your keys back to us yet, as you’ll need them to access your room. Once you have collected your belongings, please leave your room key and letterbox key in an envelope at reception.

Please note, if you are due a refund, we will only be able to process this once we have your keys.

What's the latest I can leave my property?

You should move out of your property on or before the last day of your tenancy. If you have extended your tenancy, you will have to move out before your extension ends.

If you’re unable to move out because you’re self-isolating or your country of residence isn’t allowing travel, please speak to your property team via WebChat.

What if I am unable to get a flight back home within two weeks of the government restrictions being lifted?

Please email us here or contact us via WebChat. We will review these on an individual basis, ensuring no one is left without a home.

FAQs on belongings

 

What should I do if I’ve left my possessions behind?

We understand that you may have left your possessions in your room and common areas. In line with the latest government advice, we ask that you collect your belongings as swiftly as possible. 

When collecting your belongings, please follow social distancing guidelines, staying two metres away from people outside of your household and washing your hands regularly. We also ask that you only share our building’s lifts with the people that you travelled with.

If you are not able to collect your belongings yet, in line with your country’s current lockdown measures, please let your property team know via WebChat. Rest assured, we will keep your items safe during this time and will not move them from your room unless you fail to collect them when you are allowed to do so.

If you have no plans to collect your possessions, please let us know by contacting your property team via WebChat or their property-specific email address so we can dispose of any remaining items in your room and common areas.  

For peace of mind, Endsleigh, our contents insurance provider, has waived its un-occupancy exclusion of 60 days. This means any possessions left in your room will be covered under your policy for an unlimited period of time during the policy period. 

This cover will still apply for possessions that may need to be moved into storage. This includes all valuables up to the limits and perils on your policy certificate. More information on your  Endsleigh cover can be found here.

How long do I have to collect my possessions?

If you haven’t already collected your belongings, you should do so as swiftly as possible, unless you’re self-isolating. 

If you live or study in a country that still has lockdown measures in place, you will have two weeks to collect your belongings once travel restrictions have lifted.

​I am unable to clear my room, and have decided not to come back. What will happen to my belongings?

If you have left possessions in your room and do not plan to return to collect them within two weeks of the lockdown being lifted, they will be disposed of.

I’ve received an email about collecting my belongings, but I don’t live in the UK. Do I have to collect my belongings by the deadline you’ve given me?

If you study or live in a country where lockdown measures are still in place, you’ll need to stay where you are in accordance with each country’s lockdown rules.

Can I stay for the night when I come to collect my belongings?

We understand it may not be practical to pack and make the return journey on the same day if you have a long way to travel. It’s possible to stay in your room, but social distancing rules must be followed. You’ll need to check out and return your key by the deadline we outlined in our email to you.

I can’t collect my belongings by the deadline you’ve given me.

We’ll need to review your request. Please contact your property team via email or phone to explain your situation and we’ll try our best to help.

FAQs on payments

 

I paid for my rent in advance but am leaving early - am I due a refund?  

If you paid in full in advance, you will receive a refund equal to 20% of your total tenancy value, assuming you submitted your request before the deadline.  

I paid for my rent in instalments but am leaving early - am I due a refund?  

If you have already made payments to us that add up to more than 80% of your total tenancy value, we will process a refund to ensure that you have only paid for 80% of your tenancy value, assuming that you submitted your request before the deadline.

How and when will I get my refund?  

If you are due a refund, we will process it to your original payment method where possible. We have asked for your bank details in case we are unable to do this.

We will only be able to process refunds once you have returned your keys to us.  

Payments will be processed as swiftly as possible. We are handling a large volume of requests so please bear with us while we arrange your refund. Thank you again for your patience.

I have a direct debit set-up. Do I need to cancel this?

No. Our team will cancel your direct debit on your behalf.  

I have made a booking for the next academic year (2020/2021) but my educational institution hasn’t confirmed that my course is running. Will I have to pay the rent even if my course doesn’t go ahead?

If your course for next year does not go ahead you will be covered by our No Place No Pay policy which you can view here.

I have left my property and notified you of this. If I change my mind and decide to move back in, can I do this?

If you’ve already taken advantage of our early leave policy but decide you would like to come back, you will need to start a new tenancy. 

I’m in arrears for previous semesters. Will I still have to pay?

Yes, any arrears from previous semesters will need to be paid for in full.

Does this mean that my 2020/2021 booking is also cancelled?

No. We’re looking forward to welcoming you again in the new academic year.

You haven’t answered my question here

We will continue to add to this FAQ as the situation develops, so please do check back in the coming days.

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Staff writer at The Common Room at The Common Room