Student accommodation Renslade House refuses tenants rent refunds amid COVID-19 crisis
Private student accommodation block in Exeter, Renslade House, has rejected tenants’ appeals for their rent to be refunded amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Resident students have requested full or partial refunds from the block’s owner, Prestige Student Living, as they are no longer occupying their rooms following advice from both the government and the University to isolate at home.
Prestige Living told tenants “we cannot terminate your contract early if you have decided to leave your accommodation,” citing fixed costs and repayment obligations to lenders – despite the University releasing students from tenancy contracts in its own accommodation blocks and the Students’ Guild calling on private landlords to do the same.
Although a copy of the letter was sent to Prestige Student Living by the Guild, residents received a further email stating the decision of Renslade House’s landlord was final.
In an open letter to landlords on 6 April, the Guild urged purpose-built student accommodation to release residents from tenancy agreements if they are no longer living there, following the example set by private accommodation company Unite Students. Although a copy of the letter was sent to Prestige Student Living by the Guild, residents received a further email stating the decision of Renslade House’s landlord was final.
Located on Bonhay Road, Renslade House opened in 2019 and is marketed as luxury student accommodation with 300 studios ranging in price from £180-£215 per week. Rent includes all utility bills, in addition to use of the on-site gym and cinema room.
Despite the block being unfinished in September when tenants moved in, they were not offered rent reductions in compensation for ongoing building work and incomplete features such as the gym, postal service and study rooms.