Bristol University is reported to be turning to a Private Debt Collection Agency for help. The University of Bristol has called in Private Debt collectors to help recover unpaid rent from students that have been on ‘rent strike’.
The university’s standard procedure for unpaid debts is to pass any on the third party private debt collectors after 12 months. Supposedly, student on the ‘rent strike’ will have their accounts passed on after only 7 months as the University takes robust steps against non paying students.
Bristol University is reportedly the first university to pursue private debt collection in response to rent-striking students. Many Students at the University decided they would stop paying their rent during the pandemic under the banner of Rent Strike Bristol.
Students who have not yet paid their instalments of rent have received emails and telephone calls from the university urging them to pay. They have already received reductions in their rent as a result of the pandemic but they want more.
A University of Bristol spokesperson issued a statement saying ‘We do not make a profit from student rent and all accommodation fees are used for operating, maintaining and improving our halls of residence. This includes 24/7 pastoral and wellbeing support.
‘Recognizing the impact the pandemic has had, we have offered students rebates which are the equivalent of a 25% reduction in rent over the duration of their tenancy. We believe this to be one of the most significant rebates across the university sector and it is significantly more than students living in private rented accommodation have received.
‘The overall package of additional Covid-related support for students in halls up to the end of March will total over £16.5million.
Alice, a Bristol student and participant in the rent strike, says: ‘Having an outside company potentially affect our finances and credit score is really scary.’
‘Financially, being a student this year has been really tough, jobs are hard to find and the University threatening this action is upsetting.’
Giovanni, another student striker, adds that the move from the University is ‘vile, bullying behaviour, lower than I’d expect to see from the scummiest of private businesses, and sends a clear message to students considering studying at Bristol.’
Rent Strike Bristol, who earlier in the academic year led what is thought to be the largest ever rent strike on a UK campus, have said that they are continuing to fight this decision.
They are asking Bristol University management to meet with them to reach a conclusion that does not involve a private debt collection agency.
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