You signed the contract, pay the rent

Although these are unprecedented times, bills still need to be paid, and I don’t see why uni students should be exempt from paying their rent for student let houses. Make the most of your new found free time and do some thinking about responsible living and use this isolation time to get your head together and sort out your finances.

I’m a second-year student, and I rent a student house in Norwich. At the end of first year, when I didn’t have a secure part time job, I purposely picked a second year house that I knew my (minimum level) student loan would be able to cover. I didn’t ever want to have to rely on something like an unstable job or unpredictable circumstances meaning I couldn’t pay my rent. I knew if I didn’t find a job, lost a job, or had unexpected events pop up, I’d be able to use my student loans to pay my rent. I signed a contract when I moved in and I as a renter have a duty to my landlord to live in his house and thus pay them their rent. 

As of now, students are still getting their student loans, which means they can still pay their rent if they have properly prepared and budgeted. If you’ve chosen accommodation so expensive that it means you cannot afford to pay your rent and survive, then maybe it’s time to use this isolation period to learn about budgets. 

I don’t mean to sound unsympathetic and I do understand that people would rather leave their student properties to go and live with their families in these terrible times, but a house doesn’t just go away because you do. If you were just able to magic rent away with a magic wand that would be great, but it wouldn’t teach you any lessons about the real world and we’d just be living in a fairytale. 

For first-year students living on campus, I think it is fair enough that they won’t have to pay the rest of their universities fees. The campus fees are extortionately large and I don’t think having a mass amount of students living on campus would be safe for the university students, or staff. However, older year students are not living on campus; they’ve chosen a property with cheaper rent and signed a contract where a landlord may be dependent on their rent. A university is a massive institute that can afford the loss in rent, the individual landlord can no way match that on the same scale. 

If your landlord is kind enough to give you reduced rent or cancelled rent, that is amazing and you should be saving that money to use smartly, but if not, you need to just deal with it. This won’t last forever and you signed that contract, so do the responsible thing, and pay it. 

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Leia Butler

Leia Butler

20 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “You signed the contract, pay the rent”

  1. If the author is happy to post her ignorant comments in the form of an opinion piece, she needs to accept any relevant criticism that opinion piece then incurs.

    Fact: no one could’ve predicted this scenario.

    Fact: most students and many adults are living one-paycheck away from homelessness or destitution.

    Fact: zero hours contracts and minimum pay exacerbate all of this.

    Fact: some people might be happy to live in a shitty, cheap flat for their time, but most of us want one thing in our lives that doesn’t drive us to putting a bullet through our own scalps. The ability to come home from a long shift at work, or a lengthy day of study, to somewhere that’s reasonably warm, reasonably safe, and reasonably comfortable, is not unreasonable or unacceptable.

    Fact: mental health in students and adults is at an all time low.

    Leia, whoever you are, you’re wrong! Check your privilege at the door, and start realising that not everyone is as lucky as you clearly are.

  2. What a privileged, condescending, smug piece of writing. What about students who can’t go home because of domestic situations? Students who have lost their job due to the crisis? What do you want them to do, Leia? Go homeless to learn about “real life”?

    I have no sympathy for parasitic landlords – if they can’t afford to live without rent, they should have planned better! Why is the pressure on students to work part time jobs and desperately make ends meet? Landlords already have at least two homes – they can go get a job if times are tough!

    • When did the author ever say she wanted people homeless? Why put words in someone’s mouth?I think the author just wanted people to be reponsible enough to have chosen a property to live in that they could afford.

  3. This is article is absurd. How was any one supposed to anticipate this and plan their rent accordingly? You do realise most people have to rely on their jobs to sustain their rent and expenses, even with a student loan? And what of their people who can’t simply ‘deal with it’? Do they deserve to be made homeless as a result of a lockdown that stripped their income? Do you not think the contract signed at the beginning of the year should take these events into consideration at all? Your privileged situation alone has allowed you to be so mind-numbingly ignorant of the circumstances which aren’t your own. Instead of extending sympathies for those in these awful circumstances, or coming with an understanding of how to best solve them, you say “I’m alright, Jack” and “Let them eat cake”. Please never write another article for the Concrete again, or write for Buzzfeed maybe.

  4. Count yourself lucky that your student loan covers rent and food. Count yourself lucky that this is ‘free-time’ for you.

  5. The majority of landlords own a large property portfolio and have the financial ability to reduce or pause rent. And those that are paying a mortgage for the house they let out are able to apply for a freeze on their repayments and therefore offer a freeze to their tenants.

    I graduated a few years ago and studied with plenty of people who had to have a job in order to live. Not because of poor budgeting, but because of crazy rent, living and studying materials costs.

    I’m not saying that the person who wrote this isn’t entitled to their opinion, but I think when writing an article it’s important to not generalise a very broad situation. Showing an awareness of those who may be in more difficult situations allows more people to relate to what is being said.

  6. I’m sorry but this reeks of privilege. I too get the minimum student loan but have an intensive course with many hours on campus and in the research park so had to have a place near enough to uni. Even so I picked a cheap place – my student loan almost covers the rent and for the bills I have a job – well ‘had’ a job. This was unexpected and I don’t have the bank of mum and dad to fall back on – it’s not unreasonable for landlords to be expected to consider rent reductions – I agree that we shouldn’t expect to pay no money but a concession on their part isn’t too much to ask for.

  7. I think this article is right- we are adults, and being students doesn’t change that, or mean that we get a free pass. I think there’s a lot of demonizing landlords, when in actuality, without them, almost all students wouldn’t have anywhere to live. It’s like saying that you don’t actually want to pay for your car insurance because you’re not driving during this. While it is a tough situation, I think that whinging about having to pay a lease you signed for because you’ve gone home to live with your family, or even those who are still living in their homes, is wrong. Student Finance has only just come in, and once assessments are over, even though it might seem rough, working jobs in the supermarket/fruit picking means money and helping to pick the country up.

  8. This is clearly fake, ignore the haters. Nicly written article. This uni has some aspiring writers

  9. Her opinion seems fair to me tbf. Harsh, but doesn’t deserve some of the stuff being said

  10. I sort of disagree, i think if something happens that’s out of your control to this scale (an act of god etc) the there are definitely exceptions but not everyone is an exception

  11. I can definitely see the reasoning behind this for certain people’s situations, but so many things are being ignored. Financing rent as well as other necessities is not easy for everyone at the best of times, let alone at a time when wages are disappearing in totally unforeseen circumstances. I don’t think it’s at all reasonable to make a statement like this with such certainty – it’s not a case of ‘thinking about responsible living’, sadly there is just great financial inequality in the world.

  12. It’s also wack to call this free time-a lot of us have had to bury loved ones and/or watch them die via FaceTime. I am sure this is not what you meant. But be careful, because while lockdown for some people just means staying home, it’s a lot deeper than that.

  13. I have to earn £1000+ to afford my rent and bills each year, not including living costs like food or course materials. Luckily My job is being protected during this time, but this is not true for many people who don’t know how long their employers will be able to furlough them for, who rely on overtime, or have lost their jobs. It’s really wack to say it is irresponsible or ill-preparation to rely on a job-because a lot of us HAVE to. There are also many students who have families who rely on them sending them money. That might seem a world away from you-but it happens. Acknowledge your privilege and remember that not everyone is fortunate enough to only be responsible for themselves. Compassion is key right now.

  14. Sounds like you’ve grown up with a hell of a lot of privilege. You do realise that for some people who are on the minimum student loan due to high parental income actually don’t get the support from the bank of mum and dad and so *have* to work to pay the bills and feed themselves? And that when the jobs they can ordinarily rely on dry up because of an unprecedented global pandemic, they don’t physically have enough money to pay 12 months of rent?? It’s nothing to do with irresponsibility, or an inability to budget. We’re perfectly capable of budgeting for the income we have, a combination of student loan and earnt money from part time jobs. But what happens then when your main source of income is suddenly taken away in a way that no one could’ve predicted a year ago? It was around a year ago when most people signed their student leases for 2019/20, when the novel coronavirus WAS NOT EVEN KNOWN TO SCIENCE. Which means, guess what, NO-ONE could have budgeted for this, not even you with your 20/20 hindsight. My last 2 student landlords have owned 5+ houses. I’m sure they’re in a far better financial position to take the hit than someone scraping about in their overdraft to make ends meet. Your arrogance and ignorance is astounding.

    • Why would u rent a property that your student loan wouldnt cover if something untoward happened (and basically something unexpected can always happen) i actually know that the author is on minimum student loan and rents a shitty flat. Its cheap and shitty because she needed to know that in the event of the unexpected happening the rent would be paid on her miniscule loan. Dont assume that because someone puts a 500 word opinion piece out that u know them and that u can make assumptions about them.

      • Her opinion is condescending, smug, privileged, and tone deaf. Pretty sure we can judge her, seeing as the whole article is her looking down her nose at those students who “haven’t prepared”.

        How was anyone supposed to plan for this? And why do students and renters have to bear the burden? If landlords can’t afford to miss a few months rent, they should have planned better – maybe they can cut down on their avocado toast they’re enjoying in their own rent-free home.

  15. U dont have to be old to know what responsibility is. She’s obviously not saying tough shit to everyone, just take a look at your own situation and what could u do better to protect yourself in case of things going tits up. Not everything is the government’s responsibility. U have to be responsible for yourself too. Also, wtf with all the mean comments??? Is no one allowed to have a different opinion anymore? Look at yourselves.

    • She’s entitled to an opinion, and WE are entitled to condemn that opinion.