On the 26th May 2020, a new piece of emergency, temporary legislation came into force in Scotland. This granted permission for students living in purpose built student accommodation (including University Halls of Residence and private student halls) to bring tenancies to an end earlier than the stated end date.
The relevant section of the legislation states:
(1) A tenant may, for a reason relating to coronavirus, bring to an end a student residential tenancy by giving to the landlord a notice which fulfils the requirements described in paragraph 3.
(2) A tenancy comes to an end in accordance with sub-paragraph (1) on the day on which the notice states (in whatever terms) that it is to come to an end.”
New guidance issued by the Scottish Government confirms that students are not required to provide evidence to end their tenancy agreements in private halls, with information being available in Section 2 of this page. They state:
"Whilst the underlying reason for giving notice must be related to coronavirus, the Act does not require students to provide information proving that the reason is due to coronavirus, nor does it require a student to specify the reason when giving notice. However, we recommend that students do specify the reason when giving notice."
Richard Lochhead, the Scottish Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, has also confirmed this position in a letter to all students living and studying in Scotland.
If your provider is requesting evidence, we would encourage you to direct them to this information. If they continue to request it, please get in touch with us so we can help.
Other things that are important to know:
If you moved into your accommodation before 27th May 2020, you are entitled to give 7 days' notice to leave.
If you moved in on or after 27th May 2020, you are entitled to give 28 days' notice to leave. You should allow 48 hours for your notice to be received, therefore the start of your notice period will be 2 days after you send the email or letter and the end of your notice period will be 30 days after you send the email or letter.
Notice must be given in writing.
You must state the end date of your notice period when you provide notice to quit.
The reason you wish to leave must be related to Coronavirus and clearly stated in your notice to quit.
This is a temporary piece of legislation currently in place until 30th September 2021 and as such, we expect that on the 1st October 2021 all relevant legislation will revert to standard.
What this means is that the last date you can give notice to leave is 30th September 2021.
We have developed a template letter for those ending their tenancy agreements in line with this legislation. This is available here.
My provider won't let me end my tenancy - what do I do?
All private student accommodation providers must allow you to end your contract in line with the above legislation. However, students have been experiencing issues where they have had evidence demanded of them that they are not able to obtain. As of late January, the Scottish Government have issued further guidance. Please see above under 'Evidence Requirements' for more information.
The Advice Hub are still available for any questions you might have about your circumstances, so please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to help!