Covid-19: Rent discount FAQs

05 Mar 2021
By Unite Students, Staff writer at The Common Room

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

Below, you’ll find detailed information about our rent discount, due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. This information will be updated as the situation develops.

If you make your payments to your educational institution, their cancellation terms and conditions will apply, so you will need to contact them directly about whether there is any offer in relation to a rent discount. Here is a list of useful contact details that may help.

I hear the 50% rent discount has been extended again. What does that mean for me?

In addition to the seven-week 50% rent discount we have previously announced, we are now announcing an additional three-week 50% rent discount. We have taken this decision in light of the stay-at-home guidance in England that is in place until 29th March 2021.  

As such, the total possible 50% rent discount period for eligible students now runs from 18th January 2021 up to 28th March 2021.  

This latest three-week 50% rent discount is only available to students who have already applied for our original rent discount and meet the eligibility criteria.  

How will I know if I am eligible?

You will be eligible for the original 50% rent discount if:

  • You have a 20/21 academic year tenancy agreement with Unite Students.
  • You pay your rent directly to Unite Students.
  • You are not currently living in your Unite Students property.
  • To receive a four-week 50% rent discount, you must not be in residence at your Unite Students property between Monday 18 January 2021 and Sunday 14 February 2021.
  • To receive a seven-week 50% rent discount, you must not be in residence at your Unite Students property between Monday 18th January 2021 and Sunday 7th March 2021.
  • You do not have any outstanding rent payments on your account as of 14th February 2021, in accordance with your payment schedule.
  • You do not cancel or leave your contract during the rent discount period. Our standard cancellation terms still apply.
  • Your tenancy has started or will start by 8th March 2021.

You will be eligible for the four-week tenancy extension if:

  • All the above criteria is correct.
  • Your current tenancy ends by 31st July 2021.

You can read the full terms and conditions here.

How to I know if I'm eligible for the additional three-week 50% rent discount?

You will be eligible for the additional three-week 50% rent discount if:

  • You have already completed and submitted the web form application for the 50% rent discount.
  • You have a 20/21 academic year tenancy agreement with Unite Students.
  • You pay your rent directly to Unite Students.
  • You are not currently living in your Unite Students property.
  • You are not in residence at your Unite Students property between Monday 8th March 2021 and Sunday 28th March 2021.
  • You do not have any outstanding rent payments on your account as of 30th April 2021, in accordance with your payment schedule.
  • You do not cancel or leave your contract during the 50% rent discount period. Our standard cancellation terms still apply.
  • Your tenancy has started or will start by 8th March 2021.

You can read the full terms and conditions here.

Am I eligible for a partial discount if I return before 28th March 2021?

Yes. The total period the 50% rent discount is available for is from Monday 18th January 2021 to Sunday 28th March 2021. However, we are aware that you may have made plans to return to your accommodation following our previous announcements .

Therefore, we will determine your 50% rent discount based on an occupancy check to see whether you are in residence between Monday 18th January 2021 and Sunday 28th March 2021.

  • If you are not in residence between Monday 18th January 2021 and Sunday 28th March 2021 you will receive a 50% rent discount for the full 10-week period.
  • If you are not in residence between Monday 18th January and Sunday 7th March 2021, but return before 28th March 2021, you will receive a 50% rent discount for the extended seven-week period.
  • If you are not in residence between Monday 18th January and Sunday 14th February 2021, but return before 7th March 2021, you will receive a 50% rent discount for the initial four-week period.

As long as you have completed the web form, you do not need to notify us of when you will be returning, as an occupancy check will be carried out automatically.

How do I access the web form for the 50% rent discount?

Applications for the 50% rent discount are now closed. If you have not yet applied for the 50% rent discount, you will no longer be able to.

If you have already applied for our original 50% rent discount, you will be eligible for the additional three-week 50% rent discount, providing you meet the eligibility criteria.

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. Here is a list of useful contact details that may help.

How do I request the four-week tenancy extension to my tenancy?

We will confirm if you're eligible for the four-week tenancy extension when we email you to tell you if you're eligible for the 50% rent discount. If you are eligible for both, you will need to fill out the web form that we link to in the email to request your tenancy extension.

If you're struggling to access the web form, please email us at webform@unitestudents.com to ask for a tenancy extension form. You should include 'Summer tenancy extension form request' as your subject line.

How will the 50% rent discount be applied and when will I receive it?

We will let you know if you have been approved to receive the original 50% rent discount by the end of March 2021, following completion of our validation checks.  

If you are eligible for a four or seven-week 50% rent discount, this will be applied to your Unite Students account by the end of March 2021.  

If you are eligible for the additional three-week 50% rent discount, this will be applied to your account by the end of May, providing you have no outstanding payments as of 30th April 2021 and are not in residence at your property between 18th January 2021 and 28th March 2021.

Any credit left on your Unite Students account will be refunded to you when you check out

I am in debt, am I still eligible for this 50% rent discount and summer extension?

To be eligible for the four-week or seven-week 50% rent discount and summer extension, there must be no outstanding rent payments on your account as at 14th February 2021. To be eligible for the additional three-week 50% rent discount, you will also need to make sure there are no outstanding payments on your account as at 30th April 2021.

Any student who is struggling to keep up to date with rent payments is urged to get in touch with their local property team, and to contact their university’s student finance team for further support.

I’m struggling to keep up with my rent payments. Does this mean I won’t be eligible for this rent discount?

If you’re struggling to keep up with your rent payments, please get in touch with your property team, who will be able to discuss your individual situation with you.

Why are you only offering a partial rent discount?

All Unite Students’ customers, in common with customers of other private landlords, signed legally-binding assured short-term lease agreements for the 2020/2021 academic year against a backdrop of Covid-19. However, this discount recognises these are exceptional circumstances, which Unite Students has taken into account.

I am an international student and I am unable to check in currently due to travel restrictions. Can I cancel or amend my booking?

To support students who were initially planning to arrive between 1st January 2021 and 28th February 2021, we are offering the flexibility to change the start of their tenancy to any date up to 28th March 2021. 

Students who successfully apply for flexible check-in will only be charged from the day they check in, provided this date is before 28th March 2021. If they check-in after 28th March 2021, they will be charged from 29th March 2021. Find out more here.

If you are not eligible for flexible check-in, but are also unable to check in due to travel restrictions and booked directly with Unite Students, please get in touch with customerservices@unitestudents.com. You will need to provide your RN booking number, full name and property name. Alternatively, if you booked via an agent please contact them directly.

Can I apply for both the rent discount and the flexible check-in offer you recently announced?

The 50% rent discount cannot be combined with the recently announced flexible check-in offer. If you have applied for both, we will only process your application for flexible check-in. If we then discover you are not eligible for the flexible check-in offer, we will review and process your application for the rent discount.

If I request to stay for the additional four weeks, 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 or move rooms/property. If your current room is not available for an extension, we will offer an alternative room to you if one is available. Any offer of an alternative room would be sent to you by email, where you can accept or decline this digitally.

My tenancy already runs up until the end of the summer. Am I still eligible to extend my booking by four weeks?

No, the four-week free extension is only available if your tenancy starts before 8th March 2021 and ends on or before 31st July 2021.

I am only booked on a semester stay from January until April, can I still extend my booking by four weeks for free?

Yes, if your tenancy starts before 8th March 2021 and ends on or before 31st July 2021 you are eligible for this, provided you meet all of the other eligibility criteria.

My booking is from January 2021 till June 2021. Am I eligible for the free four-week summer extension?

Yes, if your tenancy starts before 8th March 2021 and ends on or before 31st July 2021 you are eligible for this, provided you meet all of the other eligibility criteria.

The lockdown started on 4th January 2021, why does the offer start from 18th January?

The 18th January 2021 is the date when the majority of students across the country would have been due to return to their accommodation following the winter break prior to the Government announcing this latest lockdown.

My tenancy doesn’t start until after 18th January 2021, am I still eligible for the rent discount and extension?

If your tenancy starts on or after the 18th January 2021, but before 8th March 2021, then you are still eligible for the 50% rent discount and summer extension. The amount of discount you receive will be worked out pro rata to reflect the start date of your tenancy, provided you meet all of the other eligibility criteria.

Alternatively, you may wish to apply for flexible check-in, which allows students who were initially planning to arrive in their accommodation between 1st January 2021 and 28th February 2021, but haven’t checked in yet, to change the start date of their tenancy to any date up to 28th March 2021. However, this can not be used in conjunction with the rent discount. Find out more here.

My tenancy ends between 18th January 2021 and 28th March 2021, am I still eligible for the rent discount?

If your tenancy ends between 18th January 2021 and 28th March 2021 then you are still eligible and the amount of discount you receive will be worked out pro rata to reflect the end date of your tenancy, provided you meet all of the other eligibility criteria.

My next rent instalment is due soon. Are there any changes to the date that this should be paid?

No, rent instalments should be continued to be paid on the planned date.

I have paid all of my rent in full upfront. Will I still receive a 50% rent discount? And when will I receive the discount?

We will let you know if you have been approved to receive this 50% rent discount by the end of March 2021, following completion of our validation checks.  

The four and seven-week 50% rent discounts will be applied to your account by the end of March 2021.

If you are eligible for the 10-week 50% rent discount, the first seven weeks of the 50% rent discount will be applied to your account by the end of March. Providing you meet our eligibility criteria for the remaining three weeks, the 50% rent discount for this three-week period will be applied to your account by the end of May.  

Any remaining credit on your account will be repaid to you once you have checked out.

Who do I need to contact if I made my booking direct through my educational institution?

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. Here is a list of contact details that you may find helpful.

What if I apply for this 50% rent discount and then want to return to my flat before 28th March 2021?

The 50% rent discount  is only available to those students who are not in occupation during the rent discount period. If you meet our eligibility criteria for the 50% rent discount, the below will apply:

  • If you are not in residence between Monday 18th January 2021 and Sunday 28th March 2021 you will receive a 50% rent discount for the full 10-week period.
  • If you are not in residence between Monday 18th January and Sunday 7th March 2021, but return before 28th March 2021, you will receive a 50% rent discount for the extended seven-week period.
  • If you are not in residence between Monday 18th January and Sunday 14th February 2021, but return before 7th March 2021, you will receive a 50% rent discount for the initial four-week period.

I am an international student and due to travel restrictions, I don’t have a choice over my arrival date. If I book a flight that arrives before 28th March 2021, am I still eligible for the 50% rent discount?

We will be conducting occupancy checks throughout the 50% rent discount period to determine what length of 50% rent discount you are eligible for. If you meet our full eligibility criteria for the 50% rent discount, the below will apply:

  • To be eligible for a 10-week 50% rent discount, you must not be in residence between Monday 18th January 2021 and Sunday 28th March 2021.
  • To be eligible for a seven-week 50% rent discount, you must not be in residence between Monday 18th January 2021 and Sunday 7th March 2021.
  • To be eligible for a four-week 50% rent discount, you must not be in residence between Monday 18th January 2021 and Sunday 14th February 2021.

I don’t want the rent discount, can I cancel my tenancy instead?

Our standard cancellation terms and conditions still apply. You can find these here.

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Staff writer at The Common Room