UCL quietly withdraws rent guarantor scheme
UCL has terminated its rent guarantor scheme for the 2020-21 academic year, placing several low-income and international students in a precarious situation regarding their housing arrangements.
The rent guarantor scheme allowed UCL to act as a guarantor for students renting out private accommodations.
Students at UCL were informed about this termination in an FAQ page. No email or notification was circulated to the students by the UCL staff.
Without this scheme, students who do not have a UK-based guarantor are required to pay six-months rent in advance every six months. International students, in particular, are legally required to present a guarantor before renting privately.
UCL’s withdrawal from the rent guarantor scheme means that international students and students from low-income household will be disproportionately affected.
An incoming third-year UCL law student anonymously expressed their concerns: “This news has shocked me. On top of the COVID-19 pandemic and the quality of university services decreasing – this was certainly not the kind of news I was hoping for. The pandemic has worsened my financial situation and paying a lump sum deposit just isn’t an option for me.”
Several other students have also voiced their concerns over UCL’s decision. Some have taken to UCLove facebook page to post about their concerns.
UCL Student Union’s Disabled Students’ Officer, Zohar Mendzelevski-Steinberg, said to The Tab: “This is an intersectional issue that is going to disproportionately affected disabled students, black students, students with caring responsibilities, international & low income students. I understand the financial pressures universities are under but this is not one of the things to cut. Students deserve homes.”
LandlordZONE has reported Terry Mason, group operations director at Housing Hand, saying that “while the cost of the guarantor service is higher, it’s been working with UCL and covering these students for years, so the cost to them remains the same.”
Mason also remarked to LandlordZONE that other universities have similarly terminated their guarantor schemes.