Please see below a list of frequently asked questions related to accommodation issues and coronavirus for students at the University of Aberdeen, and to assist students in understanding how recent coronavirus legislation affects student tenants.

If you have a question that is not covered below please email ausaadvice@abdn.ac.uk

You are encouraged to keep up to date with any information and advice that is issued by your accommodation provider and the Scottish Government, a list of links to this information is available on our advice pages.

For students of Robert Gordon University (RGU) and North East Scotland College (NESCol) please see our joint campaign page for links to your institution’s information.

 

Where can I find the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic?

You can keep up to date with the latest information and advice from the NHS and the Scottish and UK Governments at: Scottish Government Advice; NHS: Public Health Advice; UK Government Advice, as well as specific links found on our Resources List. It is important to check that advice on a regular basis due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic.

 

Where can I find the latest information and advice from the University of Aberdeen on the work undertaken due to COVID-19?

The latest information from the University can be found at https://www.abdn.ac.uk/about/coronavirus/ .It is important to check that advice on a regular basis due to the ever changing nature of the pandemic.

 

What reasons can I give for wishing to end my tenancy, and what proof is required?

The Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020 provides that a tenant may, for a reason relating to coronavirus, bring to an end a student residential tenancy. However, the Act does not define, or give examples of, reasons relating to coronavirus.

It is reasonable to assume financial hardship caused by the epidemic, the cancellation of in person teaching, or because students have returned to their family home in accordance with government guidance on physical distancing would be acceptable.

Whilst the underlying reason for giving notice must be related to coronavirus, the Act does not require students to provide information proving that the reason is due to coronavirus, nor does it require a student to specify the reason when giving notice.

Are the new notice periods a permanent change?

No. These changes only apply until 30th September 2021. Although the Scottish Parliament can decide to extend the end date if deemed necessary.

 

I am in a joint tenancy, do both of us need to give notice?

The notice periods outlined in the legislation also apply to joint tenancies. Both parties will need to agree to give notice.

 

I have paid a deposit for my accommodation, what can I do?

You are encouraged to work with your accommodation provider to come to an appropriate resolution of issues around deposit payments. It is expected that accommodation providers treat students sympathetically so that they are not disadvantaged.

 

Students should check their tenancy agreement, and any recent communication issued by the accommodation provider, to see agreements concerning deposits. In some cases, return of the deposit will be dealt with through the tenancy deposit schemes and their dispute resolution service. If you have any questions regarding your deposit, you are encouraged to contact ausaadvice@abdn.ac.uk

 

What should I do if my PBSA won’t let me terminate my tenancy?

If you have followed the guidance provided on our advice pages and your accommodation provider is refusing to allow you to terminate your tenancy, you are encouraged to seek advice from ausaadvice@abdn.ac.uk or Shelter Scotland.

 

Can I apply for a rent discount AND terminate my lease?

In most cases, any rent discount will be contingent on the student not terminating their lease with the provider. Although this information will be stipulated in the accommodation providers criteria for rent discount eligibility. If you are unsure about the terms of any rent reduction and you are unable to find the information from our PBSA Covid-19 info, then please get in touch with ausaadvice@abdn.ac.uk

 

What are the key deadlines?

The key deadline for terminating your lease in accordance with the current legislation is 30th September 2021. Any other deadlines related to rent reductions will be set by accommodation providers who offer them. You are encouraged to contact your accommodation provider with any questions related to any rent reduction/discount schemes.

 

Is there a template notice for termination of my lease which I can use?

Yes there are a few useful template letters that have been created to help communicate with your providers/landlords – you can find them here.

For Termination Notice template please see  Termination of Lease Notice Letter

 

Is there anyone who can help me with an issue with my PBSA?

Yes, if you require any advice or support with your issues with your PBSA you can contact ausaadvice@abdn.ac.uk or Shelter Scotland.

 

I can no longer pay my rent due to loss of employment as a result of the pandemic, what can I do?

Firstly, you should contact your provider/landlord/letting agent to discuss your circumstances as they may be able to help. If you are suffering from financial hardship due to the pandemic, you are encouraged to contact student.support@abdn.ac.uk or ausaadvice@abdn.ac.uk

 

If you are a UK home student you can make an application for financial aid to the University Student Support Discretionary Fund – Find out more here. If you are an EU or International student you can make an application for financial aid to the EU/International Hardship Fund – Find out more here

 

I have emailed my PBSA but I have not received a reply?

If you have followed the guidance provided on our advice pages and your accommodation provider has not replied to your communication, ensure that any emails/letters you have sent to the provider has used the correct details.

Check your tenancy agreement and the accommodation provider's website to ensure that you are submitting your notice to the correct contact. If you are certain that you have sent communication to the appropriate contacts and the accommodation has still not replied, seek advice from ausaadvice@abdn.ac.uk or Shelter Scotland.

 

I am staying in the University of Aberdeen halls of residence; can I leave my tenancy?

Release from the contract during the pandemic: If you decide before you move into your room that you want to cancel your contract due to your classes being online, The University will be able to do this for you.

 

If you move in and then all your classes are online, they will be able to cancel your contract and you will pay for the period that you have resided in the accommodation.

However, in all instances, your first step should be to contact the University Student Accommodation Office by emailing studentaccomm@abdn.ac.uk to discuss your situations and your options.

 

For The University Accommodation Office information and FAQ’s see here.

 

I am staying in the University of Aberdeen halls of residence; can I get a rent refund because I am unable to come back to Aberdeen?

For students living in university-run halls, refunds have been secured for the 25th January onward, however, they are currently not agreeing to backdate this further. AUSA’s #RefundTheRent campaign continues to look at this issue.

 

We would still encourage you to contact the University Accommodation Office directly with any refund requests relating to being unable to return to Aberdeen, you can email them directly at studentaccomm@abdn.ac.uk

 

I have to self-isolate/quarantine when I arrive in Aberdeen, what do I need to do before I arrive?

If you are arriving to stay at University of Aberdeen provided accommodation you can find their quarantine/isolation information here

If you are arriving to stay at a Purpose Built Student Accommodation private provider then you need to check directly with your provider what is required of you and what will be provided by them in order to support you with this period. You may also find our advice on isolation/quarantine useful.

 

At all times please make sure you follow all travel guidance and restrictions as directed by the Scottish Government – please see here for up to date information on these rules.

 

Current travel restrictions are preventing me from returning to my accommodation, but I am still being charged as my belongings are still in my room, what can I do?

Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question. Depending on the type of accommodation you live in, you will have different options offered to you in this situation depending on the individual response from your provider.

In private rented accommodation it is worth speaking with your landlord/letting agent to see if a rent discount is negotiable for the period that you are unable to use the property. However legally if your belongings are in the property then it is ‘occupied’ and therefore requiring payment.

Other options to consider are having your belongings packed and stored at a reduced rate if this is something that is practically possible within Covid-19 restrictions.