Martin Lewis reveals students could be owed accommodation refunds under new guidelines
30 April 2020, 11:57 | Updated: 30 April 2020, 12:23
Many students across Britain are furious they're still paying for student accommodation when they're unable to study.
Coronavirus has affected all of us immensely, but hundreds of thousands of students across the UK are falling between the cracks.
Graduations are being cancelled, many are having to teach themselves degrees they've paid thousands for, and for many, they're paying a hefty amount to rent student accommodation they aren't even able to live at.
Martin Lewis appeared on This Morning today, and answered callers' queries about a number of finance-related dilemmas.
One caller was a frustrated father, who asked the Money Saving Expert "does my son have to pay for his student accommodation still?"
This student in particular was due to pay a lump sum on £1750 for the final term of university's student living rent, but of course he wasn't at university and was back at home with his parents.
Martin explained: "there aren't any rules in place per se, rent is rent and there isn't a special kind for students.
"It's still a contract between a landlord and and an individual, and they can still kick you out if the condition hasn't been met."
It's understandably incredibly frustrating for students who are living in University-owned student halls, as they're likely to not be running as usual with staff cleaning the spaces and security monitoring the site, and of course the halls aren't owned by private landlords.
It's typical for first year or postgraduate students to live in university-owned halls, and their bills are calculated into the cost of the price, which is higher than it would cost to live in a privately-rented house, which is what students will usually do from their second year in higher education.
Martin then revealed: "the Competition and Markets Authority has just revealed their new guidelines, they've said if you dont get the goods or service because of coronavirus, you should get a refund.
"This probably applies in this case but at the moment there is no enforcement."
Martin suggested that the father should "maybe pay a couple of hundred quid" towards the student rent bill, but added "there is no law, it's a contract but it has to be fair."
"For most consumer contracts, the CMA would expect a full refund to be issued where:
- a business has cancelled a contract without providing any of the promised goods or services
- no service is provided by a business, for example because this is prevented by the restrictions that apply during the current lockdown
- a consumer cancels or is prevented from receiving the service, for example due to the restrictions that apply during the current lockdown"
Heart.co.uk has reached out to the Competition and Markets Authority for clarification regarding student accommodation.