The Unite Foundation have launched a campaign to demand that universities should step in and provide a rent guarantor service for students who do not have a family member to call upon.
This aims to create fairer conditions for students seeking accommodation, and lessen the pressure on care-experienced and estranged students.
They argue that while most students have parents to call on, “for the 16,000 UK university students who are care leavers or estranged from their families, this simply isn’t an option.”
Student landlords ask as a standard practice that all tenants must provide a rent guarantor in order to secure accommodation. This can lead to problems for care-experienced and estranged students when finding accommodation if they don’t have a suitable family member.
Those who do not have a guarantor can be forced to pay up to 12 months of rent in advance, which during the cost of living and current rental crisis can be hugely stressful and demanding for students.
Fiona Ellison, Director of Unite Foundation, commented that this is a “simple ask and low-risk for universities.”
“Universities providing a rent guarantor service for care experienced and estranged students helps to level a very uneven playing field and makes sure those students are not unfairly disadvantaged when it comes to finding accommodation.”
“We shouldn’t let a simple issue, like not having access to a rent guarantor, be something that stops care-experienced and estranged students from completing their degrees and reaping the lifelong benefits.”
This comes in the context of rent-strikes and occupations of University property from the UoM Rent Strike and Manchester Leftist Action, who are calling on the University to help students.
Their demands include a payout from the University, a rent reduction for the year, and conformity from the University to NUS guidelines.
Politics and International Relations student Huma Hussain pointed out that the issue of finding a guarantor is also a particular problem for many international students. She commented that “universities provide so many facilities for students but international students are left behind on this matter, guarantors have to be from the UK and have specific job and wage requirements which can be difficult for students whose family live abroad.” She, amongst others, agreed that this campaign would be a greatly beneficial service for all students that struggle with the issues of finding accommodation.