safe and secure
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, including lockdowns, all our accommodation has remained open. Unlike many university halls of residence, our accommodation operates as a residential block providing safe and secure accommodation for tenants all year round.
Universities didn’t cancel teaching, rather they changed it from face-to-face to online, and a proportion of our tenants continued to stay with us (30%), as in many cases we were their primary residence and only safe space to study. Our staff, who are classed as essential workers, continued to work on-site to provide safe, comfortable homes and to support tenants at the difficult time.
During the first national lockdown, we wrote to students offering them the option to defer their rental instalments by up to three months – in line with what banks and mortgage lenders were doing – and agreed to not chase any students for the final payment who had not paid. Additionally, when the government advised students in their halls of residence not to leave to travel elsewhere, we allowed students to stay in their residence past the end of their tenancy without paying rent.
At the end of the lockdown period, we reviewed the situation and then agreed to write off all the rents that were deferred in March, April, and May, which totalled more than £5.0m.
For the January 2021 lockdown, we offered all residents who couldn’t get back to their accommodation, due to current government restrictions, a rent reduction of 50% for 6 weeks covering the period of 4th of January to 14th of February 2021.
Collegiate’s site teams continue to support students when they have been required to self-isolate. These new measures have included supporting their social, physical, and mental health needs – whether through regular communications, facilitating the deliveries of food and toiletries as well as ensuring access to kitchens, bathrooms, beds, and relaxation areas as well as natural light, Wi-Fi and fresh air.
From the outset of the pandemic, we have also invested in a number of additional measures in our properties to help protect students and employees. These include:
- Deep cleaning of all social spaces, in addition to a more regular cleaning programme
- Restrictions to our visitor and guest policy
- Automated check ins and registration online
- Provided regular hand sanitising stations, audited our shared social spaces and removed features that pose a of cross infection
- Introduced clear signage throughout our properties reminding students of the latest government guidance in relation to washing hands, covering the face, and keeping safe distances from others
- Ensuring all residents to wear face coverings when in communal areas
- Restricting the number of people in lifts to only one or those in ‘household’ groups.
- Significant investment in online social activities in support of student health and wellbeing.
Keeping everyone safe and well
Our student’s physical, mental and financial wellbeing remains paramount, and we have communicated constantly with our tenants using multiple channels throughout to offer continuous advice and support. We also encourage any student who is in financial hardship to contact us to discuss their individual cases.