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Opinion

My Fellow Off-Campus Mates, Are We Paying Another House Rent When We Resume?

If I recall correctly, this month makes our days longer at home while we’ve spent eight months out of campus due to outbreak of coronavirus which has caused major disruption to students, driving many back home, as universities have been forced to close, leaving their rented halls of residence or privately rented rooms empty.

When we resume, some accommodation providers may agree to waive or cut fees but others may refuse to release students from their contracts. Issues about whether or not students must continue to pay rent for accommodation that they are not using, due to the coronavirus crisis, will depend on the type of accommodation or their tenancy agreement. If a student has a private landlord, it is likely they will have entered into an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, which may be hard to get out of. Although they could try arguing that the contract has been frustrated by the Covid-19 outbreak.

In peculiar instances, tenancy agreements contain a “force majeure” clause, allowing parties to terminate a contract if events beyond their control prevent them for performing their obligations under it. While Covid-19 may be a force majeure event. If students have entered into a contract for a fixed period of time, which is yet to expire, she explains there may be a break clause allowing them to terminate the contract before the end of the fixed term, after providing the required notice. But most of the private houses that are at nearby villages of the school will not do that likewise they can. Some students that are staying in the town might have willingly signed yearly payment agreement with their landlords no matter any circumstances.

During my first year in the university, I stayed at Shammah village (Benjee hostel) where our landlord told us that we will not be paying rent per year, but we would be paying new rent if the school calendar rounds its scheduled academic activities. Before they granted us permission to move in, we signed an agreement with them and they collected new payment after we finished the first year.

Others who are as well staying at nearby villages in the University may have different agreements with their landlords. Like a private hostel that I stayed when I was in 200 Level till now at Adarawa village. The landlord did not provide any receipt for us after payment and we didn’t sign any agreement, but we were called to pack out our luggage or pay another house rent when last academic calendar was elapsed. But this pandemic has not happened before, we do not know either some landlords will ask for another payment or not.

This opinion story has been published on CAMPUS REPORTER with very minimal editing to preserve the original voice of the author. CAMPUS REPORTER does not bear any responsibility for the contents of this story, all views belong to the author.

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