Covid-19: Rent discount FAQs

03 Feb 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 rent discount has been extended. What does that mean for me?

With national lockdowns continuing, we are extending the 50% rent discount for eligible students by an extra three weeks up to 8th March 2021.

If you have already applied for this rent discount, you do not need to do anything else. We will automatically review your existing application for the updated rent discount period.

How will I know if I am eligible?

You will be eligible for this 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 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.

Am I eligible for a partial discount if I return before 7th March 2021?

Yes. The total period the 50% rent discount is available for is from Monday 18th January 2021 to Sunday 7th March 2021. However, we are aware that after our original announcement on Monday 11th January 2021, you may have made plans to return to your accommodation at the end of the initial four-week period, which ends on Sunday 14th February 2021.

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 7th March 2021.

If you are not in residence between Monday 18th January 2021 and Sunday 7th March 2021 you will receive a 50% rent discount for the full 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 by Sunday 14th February 2021, 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?

The deadline to submit your web form was 11.59pm on Sunday 14th February 2021. Therefore, you will not be able to submit your web form if you haven’t yet done so.

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.

I’m having difficulty logging into, completing or submitting my web form. What should I do?

The deadline to submit your web form was 11.59pm on Sunday 14th February 2021. Therefore, you will not be able to submit your web form if you haven’t yet done so.

I have filled the form out, but I’m worried that I’ve made an error. Can I fill it out again?

Once you have submitted your completed web form you will be unable to re-submit it. We will contact you by the end of March to let you know if this has been validated or not and at this point raise any queries we may have if the form has not been filled out correctly.

I accidentally logged back into the web form after submitting it. Do I need to resubmit it?

No, once you have submitted your web form, we will receive it as expected and there is no need for you to re-submit it.

I have not yet checked in. What date should I choose on the web form where it asks for the date that I last occupied my room?

If you have never checked in to your room, please choose the date before your tenancy start date. We will be able to see your status on your booking, and so this will not affect your eligibility for the rent discount. 

What is the deadline for submitting the web form?

You must complete and submit the web form by the end of the day on Sunday 14th February 2021. If your form isn’t completed and submitted by this date, we will not be able to review and process your request.

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

When we email you to confirm if you are eligible for the rent discount, we will also outline the next steps for requesting the free four-week extension to your tenancy. This will be by the end of March.

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

We will let you know if you have been approved to receive this offer by the end of March 2021, following completion of our validation checks. If you are eligible, the rent discount will be applied to your Unite Students account by the end of March 2021. If you have already paid in full any credit on your account will be repaid to you once you have checked out.

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

To be eligible for this rent discount and extension, there must be no outstanding rent payments on your account as at 14th February 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 1st 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 1 March 2021. If they check-in after 1 March 2021, they will be charged from 1 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 rent discount and 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 1 January 2021 and 28 February 2021, but haven’t checked in yet, to change the start date of their tenancy to any date up to 1 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 8th March 2021, am I still eligible for the rent discount?

If your tenancy ends between 18th January 2021 and 8th 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.

Will you extend the rent discount if lockdown is extended further?

We will continue to review government guidance and should there be any further changes that impact students returning to their accommodation we will review this accordingly.

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 rent discount? And when will I receive the discount?

We will let you know if you have been approved to receive this rent discount by the end of March 2021, following completion of our validation checks. The rent discount will be applied to your account by the end of March 2021 and 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 rent discount and then want to return to my flat before 8th March 2021?

This offer is only available to those students who are not in occupation between 18th January 2021 and 7th March 2021. Should you return to your flat between these dates you will no longer be eligible for the rent discount.

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 8th March 2021, am I still eligible for the rent discount?

Unfortunately not. To be eligible for the rent discount, you must not reside in a Unite Students property between 18th January 2021 and 7th March 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