Unite Students, one of the UK's leading student accommodation providers, is giving tenants a rent reduction.
Students will be able to apply for a discount of 50 per cent of their rent for a total of four weeks and, in addition, will be given a four-week complimentary extension of their tenancy agreement at the end of the academic year to extend their stay into the summer.
The rental discount and tenancy extension will be available to all students checked-in but not living in their accommodation between January 18 and February 14.
The government’s latest guidance recommends that most students start their second term online until at least mid-February.
There are however exceptions for certain practical courses such as medicine, veterinary science, teacher training and social work. Therefore campuses are expected to remain open and Covid-19 testing will be offered to all students on their return to or arrival at college or university.
Unite - which is listed on the London Stock Exchange - says the loss of rental income will cost it up to £8m.
Chief executive Richard Smith comments: “We recognise that this is again a particularly challenging time for all students, which is why their health, safety and security has been our priority since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The new rent discount recognises the challenges and disruption that students face following the Government's latest lockdown announcement, and we feel that taking this action is the right thing to do.
"Universities remain open, unlike the first lockdown, and we continue to have thousands of students living with us as of today.
“Some students studying specific subjects have already returned to university and more will be returning for face-to-face tuition during January as per government guidelines, while for other students our accommodation is their only home. All our properties across the country remain open and operational.
"Against the backdrop of the government Covid-19 guidelines, we are working closely with our university partners. We will continue to support students and maintain our focus to keep all students and staff safe across our properties during the pandemic."