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COVID - INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE

 

PUBLISHED: 29 March 2020

LAST UPDATE: 14 April 2021

 

This information page is updated regularly. If you have a query that is not answered on this page and need further support, please email LSH@Liverpool.ac.uk.

 

Guidance updates

Latest local updates for Liverpool

Latest government updates

University updates 

January 2021 rent refund queries - list of LSH accredited providers offering support

Archive - local and government updates

 

COVID information

Social distancing

Got symptoms? Get tested

Tested positive? What to do

Support for students self-isolating

Arriving from overseas and quarantining

Useful documents for students

 

Accommodation issues

Contacting your landlord, agent or halls manager

COVID flexible tenancies

Searching for properties for 2021/22 during the pandemic

Property viewings advice

Financial support & guidance

Accessing the Hardship Fund 

FAQs - students

 

Information for accommodation providers

Useful links

Documents for download

FAQs - accommodation providers

 

COVID useful links

 

 

LATEST LOCAL UPDATES   Liverpool City Council coronavirus page


12 APRIL - Roadmap Step 2

The following businesses in England can now open:

  • non-essential retail
  • personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons
  • public buildings, including libraries and community centres
  • indoor leisure facilities such as gyms but only for use by people on their own or in household groups
  • most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas
  • self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households

More information about the restrictions in Liverpool can be found here.

 

5 JANUARY - New National Lockdown & Return to University

England will enter in to another national lockdown from Wednesday 6 January until at least mid-February, and these restrictions will also apply to the Liverpool City Region. For full details, see our latest government updates section, including information on when you can return to campus and rent refund queries.

 

Students should also follow any specific guidelines that have been put in place by your landlord, letting agent or private halls provider.

You can view further information published by Liverpool City Council, including a series of FAQs here.

 

Archived local updates.

 

 

LATEST GOVERNMENT UPDATES - Government COVID page


13 APRIL - remaining university students to return to campus no earlier than 17 May

All university students who have not yet returned to campus and in-person teaching will be able to do so from 17 May, at the earliest, the government has confirmed today (Tuesday 13 April press release).

 

Upon return, all students and staff are encouraged to take three supervised tests (3 to 5 days apart) at an asymptomatic testing site on campus, where this is available. All tests will be free, and all students and staff who test positive from an LFD test will need to self-isolate for 10 days, unless they receive a negative PCR test within two days.

 

12 APRIL - change to advice on home moving

The government have updated their guidance on home moving during the pandemic, in accordance with step 2 of the Roadmap out of lockdown from 12 April 2021. If you are searching for a property for the 2021/22 academic year, you should check this guidance for the precautions you should take. 

 

29 MARCH -  the ‘stay at home’ rule ends in England, restrictions still in place

Step one of the government's roadmap out of lockdown has begun with the 'stay at home' rule ending on 29 March. The following restrictions remain in place:

  • Only socialise indoors with people you live with or who are in your support bubble.
  • Up to 6 people or 2 households can meet outside.
  • Work from home if you can and only travel when necessary.
  • If you have symptoms get a test and stay at home.

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, will also be allowed to reopen, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.

 

People should minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes. Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. Holidays abroad will not be allowed.

 

2 FEBRUARY - New funding for universities to help support students experiencing hardship

The new funding means that universities will be able to help students impacted by the pandemic, for example those facing additional costs for alternative accommodation, loss of employment, or extra costs to access their teaching online. Universities will distribute the funding and will be able to prioritise the funding to those most in need of help. See the financial support section for more information about the hardship fund.

 

25 JANUARY - New fines for attending illegal gatherings

The government announced on 21 January that the existing fines for attending house parties will now be increased to £800, and will apply to those attending illegal gatherings of more than 15 people in homes, coming in to effect from 25 January. The fines will double for each repeat offence, to a maximum level of £6,400. Those responsible for organising illegal gatherings can still be issued fines of £10,000.

 

14 JANUARY - Property Viewings

The government have updated their guidance on home moving during the pandemic, including property viewings. If you are planning to view properties to rent for the 21/22 academic year, you should do your initial viewings virtually where possible. Many of our registered providers have uploaded property videos or virtual tours to our website to help you with this.

 

If you are serious about a property you have viewed virtually, you should then arrange a physical viewing with the landlord/agent, and it is recommended that only 1 person from your group is nominated to view the property at any time, whilst practising social distancing and wearing a face covering.

If you currently live in a student property and other students are shown round your home, you should open all internal doors and ensure that door handles and surfaces are cleaned after each viewing. You are also recommended to vacate your property whilst viewings take place.

 

5 JANUARY 2021 - New National Lockdown & Return to University

England will enter in to another national lockdown from Wednesday 6 January until at least mid-February. During this time you must stay at home, and may only leave your home for limited reasons (please click here for a summary of what you can and cannot do). There is additional advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

 

Students who study specific courses (click for list) should return to face to face learning, and must be tested twice for COVID or self-isolate for 10 days.

If you do not study any of the listed courses, you must not travel and remain where you are, where possible. This means if you have left your student accommodation for the festive break, you cannot return until the restrictions are lifted, and must start semester 2 online. Please also click here to follow the latest updates for each institution

 

Rent Refunds - Many students are questioning whether they need to pay rent or can receive rent refunds if they cannot move back to Liverpool to their student accommodation. We would refer you to the following January 2021 rent refund queries for details of LSH accredited providers who are offering flexible terms and FAQs on rent. If you are living in university owned accommodation, please speak directly to your university accommodation team.

 

Archived government updates.

 

 

UNIVERSITY UPDATES


STARTING IN 2021

You may have read that the Government has recommended that universities prioritise re-opening face-to-face teaching for those students on practical and creative courses that require access to specialist equipment and facilities. This decision has been made to ensure studies can continue while preventing, as far as possible, the mass movement of students across the country, and subsequent potential transmission of the virus.

 

You will receive further communications from your university. If you are asked to return, you should aim to do so in time for your first timetabled session, however we would recommend not making travel plans until you have heard from your department.
 

For the latest updates for each institution, please see below:

University of Liverpool 

Liverpool John Moores University

Liverpool Hope University

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts

 

8 OCTOBER - Face to face teaching delivery update - Semester 1

The University of Liverpool announced on 8 October 2020 that face to face teaching will now be limited to essential delivery for courses in clinical, laboratory and other practice-based disciplines. Other courses have been moved online for the rest of October, with immediate effect, and following a review on 23 October, these changes remain in place until at least 6 November 2020, where it will be reviewed weekly. This follows decisions by Liverpool Hope University and Liverpool John Moores University to also temporarily move the majority of face to face teaching online.

 

You can see a joint statement by the universities in Liverpool here.

 

The announcements have prompted students to contact us about their tenancy agreement, and you can see more information in our FAQs

 

 

JANUARY 2021 RENT REFUND QUERIES - LSH ACCREDITED PROVIDERS OFFERING SUPPORT


If you cannot move back to your accommodation in Liverpool due to the national lockdown, you should speak to your accommodation provider to ask about flexibility in the terms of your contract. Some providers may be able to offer flexibility, however, it is at their discretion.

 

Below is a list of LSH accredited providers who we know are offering changes to their contracts for the start of the January term. This list will be updated regularly. For more information about paying rent see the FAQs on rent.

 

Accommodation provider Changes to contract terms 2021
UNITE 50% discount on rent (18 January - 8 March) for students unable to return to site. Students can also stay for an extra 4 weeks in the summer. UPDATE 5/3/21 - UNITE have announced that eligible students who have already applied for a discount will have the 50% rent discount period extended by another 3 weeks
Student Roost Up to 6 weeks rent discount for students currently unable to return to site (must apply by January 25). UPDATE 16/3/21 - Student Roost have announced that eligible students can apply to have the rent discount period extended by another 4 weeks (must apply by 23:59 GMT 26 March)
L1 Lettings Considering requests on a case-by-case basis
Norford Developments Considering requests on a case-by-case basis
iQ Student 6 week rent free period from 5 January - 15 February for students currently unable to return to site paying their rent direct to iQ. UPDATE 10/3/21 - iQ have announced that eligible students who have already applied and qualified for a discount will have the rent discount period extended by up to 8 weeks to 12 April
Gather Students 50% discount on rent for 6 weeks (4 January - 15 Februray) for students currently unable to return to site (must apply by 20 January)
Hello Student Have contacted current tenants to assess their individual needs, considering requests on a case-by-case basis. Package of financial support in place to assist students for a period of at least 12 weeks throughout Spring term
The Student Housing Company 50% discount on rent for a 6 week period for students currently unable to return to site (must apply by 31 January). Rent will be discounted from the last rent payment
Calico 4 week rent rebate for students unable to return for remainder of semester, discounted from the last payment made in the 3rd semester
Nido Student 50% rent rebate for 10 week period from 5 January for students unable to return to residence. Students who have remained on site will receive a £250 rebate for the same period to recognise the impact on their living experience. Students also being provided with a 3 week free extension to their stay

 

 

 

SOCIAL DISTANCING


Follow the official government guidance and any procedures implemented by your landlord or agent. These measures are there to protect you and those around you who may be vulnerable. It’s vital that you think of the impact that your actions could have on others. The guidance is clear that the public must continue to follow social distancing guidelines to keep coronavirus under control.

 

    

 

 

GOT SYMPTOMS? GET TESTED


Symptoms

If you have a high temperature, a new continuous cough or loss of taste/smell you should get tested. More information about symptoms can be found on on the NHS Coronavirus page.

 

Campus COVID-19 test centre 

Students experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can book a test at the university's test centre on campus, which has been set up next to Peach St car park on the University of Liverpool campus. The test centre is open 9am-5pm every day. Full details, including important information and a campus map can be found here.

 

University of Liverpool and LJMU students and staff will be able to get a test, with results being processed by Liverpool Clinical Laboratories and available by text message within 24 hours. 

 

Book a test online

Check the government website for testing information.

 

 

TESTED POSITIVE? WHAT TO DO


If a resident of a student property has coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive, they must self-isolate for at least 10 days and all residents in the same student household must self-isolate for 10 days and follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection

 

* Self-isolate immediately to protect others
* Tell your housemates
* Tell your landlord, agent or halls manager

* Tell your university
* Follow NHS advice https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19 as well as official government guidance

Order a test if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and find out what your next steps should be as part of test and trace, or book a test on campus (currently available to University of Liverpool and LJMU staff and students).

 

 

SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS SELF-ISOLATING


If you are self-isolating or in quarantine, there is a range of support available. Please click here to see information on food supplies and supermarket deliveries.

 

Follow the government and NHS advice for protecting yourself against COVID. Try to keep a positive outlook and seek ways to keep anxiety to a minimum, such as pursuing hobbies that can be done at home, listening to music and trying relaxation techniques. Don’t forget to take regular breaks from your computer while studying. 

 

You should also follow COVID guidance from your university:

 

University of Liverpool 

Liverpool John Moores University

Liverpool Hope University

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts

 

If you or another student is struggling with mental health you can access support from your university’s student support team:

 

University of Liverpool https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/studentsupport

Liverpool John Moores University https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/discover/student-support/health-and-wellbeing

 

 

Liverpool Hope University https://www.hope.ac.uk/gateway/students/studentdevelopmentandwell-being

Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts https://lipa.ac.uk/life-at-lipa/student-support

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine https://lstmed.ac.uk/study/student-services

The charity Mind can also offer support https://www.mind.org.uk

 

 

ARRIVING IN THE UK FROM OVERSEAS & QUARANTINING


When entering the UK from overseas, you may have to self-isolate (quarantine) for up to 10 days depending on where you have travelled from. Some countries are on the travel corridor list and will be exempt from quarantine regulations, you should check before you travel. If the country you are travelling from is not on the list you will need to self-isolate - check this page for guidance.


 

USEFUL DOCUMENTS FOR STUDENTS (click images to download)


 

Moving In Guide     Property Viewing Checklist     Moving Out Guide     Coronavirus Safety - Property Poster

 

                   

 

 

CONTACTING YOUR LANDLORD, AGENT OR HALLS MANAGER


LSH have recommends maintaining an open dialogue with your accommodation provider, so that you can raise any problems if they arise, especially in such uncertain and difficult times. If you have any finiancial worries about paying your rent or questions about flexibilty in your contract regarding COVID, you should contact them to discuss.

 

You should also check what COVID precautions they have in place and you should inform them if you test positive.

 

COVID flexible tenancies

With so much uncertainty, some landlords have agreed to extend payment schedules, reduce payments and others (primarily in the private halls sector) agreed to waive the final instalment. For tenancies for the 20/21 academic year, some landlords have introduced flexible terms where possible, to support those students who continue to be impacted by the situation.

 

We would advise you to use our COVID Flexible Tenancies search tool when searching for accommodation as this allows you to view property adverts where a landlord is offering a Coronavirus Amendment Policy

 

Any decision of this nature is purely at the discretion of the landlord. We are also aware that each landlord will have their own specific financial set of circumstances that will mean some are able to respond whilst others are not. 

 

 

FINANCIAL SUPPORT & GUIDANCE


Accessing the Hardship Fund

If you are living in private sector accommodation and the pandemic has caused you financial hardship, your university may be able to help you.  In particular we would urge you to check your utility usage and see whether you are likely to exceed your cap and face additional payments. All of the universities in Liverpool have additional funds to support students in hardship.  Contact the relevant advice/support team in your university for more information and an application.

 

University of Liverpool

Liverpool John Moores University and Services available at LJMU

Liverpool Hope University 

Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (students can access the money support service at LJMU) 

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine 

 

 

SEARCHING FOR ACCOMMODATION FOR 2021/22


There's no need to rush and worry about finding accommodation for the 2021/22 academic year, as there is a surplus of LSH registered private student accommodation in Liverpool and properties are available all year round. LSH would advise that you take your time with your property search due to the current pandemic, and be sure before you make any commitments. We would like to reassure you that we will continue to advertise a wide range of accredited accommodation, in all popular student areas. 

 

More information about searching for properties during the pandemic.

Information about virtual and physical property viewings.

 

FAQS - STUDENTS


 

Q: My university has reduced face-to-face teaching. Can I cancel my tenancy? What about my rent payments?

A: LSH has followed guidance as provided by the government. We understand that until there is an announcement from the government to the contrary then all tenancy agreements will remain in place for their duration. You may also wish to check with your landlord/agent to see if they had introduced any flexible terms or cancellation policy prior to signing your tenancy agreement.

 

Although staff have not been trained to provide legal advice to either students or landlords we do seek to provide a supportive framework for both parties to communicate and resolve potential issues. Liverpool Student Homes have recommended all students open a dialogue with their landlord if they are facing such difficulties. We are aware that for tenancies for the 19/20 academic year, some landlords agreed to extend payment schedules, reduce payments and others (primarily in the private halls sector) agreed to waive the final instalment. For tenancies for the 20/21 academic year, some landlords have introduced flexible terms where possible, to support those students who continue to be impacted by the situation, and this may include payment plans.

 

Any decision of this nature is purely at the discretion of the landlord. We are also aware that each landlord will have their own specific financial set of circumstances that will mean some are able to respond whilst others are not. We would again, though, also recommend that landlords engage with their student tenants in an open and transparent way. We encourage both parties to talk it through.

 

Liverpool Student Homes is not aware of any additional funding any student will be able to claim but, we understand, that eligible students should still be receiving their student loans. However, please bear in mind, that the maintenance element contained within a student loan will not, necessarily, be sufficient to cover all rent and living expenses.

 

If you wish to advertise a spare room in an LSH registered property, you can do so via our student to student message board (we are only able to approve message posts for properties that are registered).

 

Q:  When should I start to look for accommodation for the 21/22 academic year? 

A:  We would encourage you to wait until you have less restrictions on the ability to view accommodation, it is safe to do so, and you have a clearer picture of what the next few months will look like. There is a lot of uncertainty at the moment but one thing is for sure that when we are able to resume some sort of normality, the registered accommodation advertised through LSH will be there for you. There is a surplus of LSH registered private student accommodation so there is no need to rush.  

 

If you do wish to look for properties now, we have introduced a new search feature that allows you to find accommodation providers who are offering some flexibility to their tenancies. For more information please see the earlier section on searching for properties for academic year 21/22.

 

Q:  Can I view accommodation now? 

A:  Although government guidelines currently permit physical property viewings, LSH strongly urges students to only consider viewing a property if it is safe to do so, and you must follow guidelines and safety procedures put in place by the government and also the landlord or letting agent. Where possible, it would be advisable to do virtual viewings. For more details on viewing properties during the pandemic, and to download a property checklist, click here. We would reiterate that there is no need to rush, due to the surplus of LSH registered private student accommodation in Liverpool.

 

You should be mindful that many landlords and providers want to protect you, themselves and their existing tenants in respect of the government restrictions. You should not go to view a property if you or your house/flatmates are showing symptoms, shielding or have been asked to self-isolate, or any of the current tenants in a property you wish to view are also showing symptoms, shielding or have been asked to self-isolate.

 

If you attend a property viewing, you must maintain the social distancing measures and wear a face covering. You should ask the landlord or agent to provide you with clear and transparent safe viewing guidelines before a viewing takes place. LSH would strongly advise that the number of prospective tenants attending any viewing should be severely restricted - preferably to a single person - or that one perspective tenant be allowed to enter the property in turn.

 

Q:  I don’t want to view the accommodation and I am happy to sign the contract

A:  We would refer back to our position before the pandemic where LSH always recommends that you view accommodation before entering into a contract. If you sign a contract for a property you will be liable to fulfil the obligations contained in that document, which include payment of rent. If you are not sure about any aspect you should wait until you are confident you can meet all the terms of the tenancy agreement.

 

If you are determined to sign a tenancy agreement then speak with the landlord/agent and request a break clause that allows the tenancy to be terminated in the event of travel restrictions or remote learning continuing (remember, you can view a list of all properties where the landlord is offering a Coronavirus Amendment Policy).

 

Don't forget that we offer a free contract checking service, so if you are about to sign a new contract and you are unclear about any of the terms, we can explain them to you and also point out anything that sounds unfair. To request a contract check, please click here.

 

You will also still be subject to right to rent checks, although these have been temporarily adjusted to allow tenants to provide scanned documents in place of sending originals.

 

Q:  Can I stay in my current accommodation for another year?

A:  If you have had a good experience with your LSH registered accommodation provider, then you may wish to give consideration to re-signing for another year. However, we would again urge you not to rush into making any decisions or commitments, even if your landlord or letting agent is putting pressure on you and gives a deadline. Even if you do not re-sign by a deadline that you are given, the property may still be available, or the landlord/agent may have other properties that you can sign for at a later date.

 

We suggest that if you are considering re-signing, you get in touch with your landlord or letting agent to check that the property is going to be available as many LSH registered landlords and agents will start to re-market properties when the LSH website adverts. You may want to attend our virtual housing fair on Wednesday 3rd March 2021, 10am-3pm, where you can meet a range of accredited private accommodation providers.

 

If you have decided you do not want to live in the property for the following year, you should also advise your landlord or letting agent once you have decided this, at your earliest opportunity.

 

Q:  What is the position if the property I’m living in has problems with disrepair? 

A:  The government has provided guidance to both landlords and tenants, which relate to guidance on these types of issues. LSH is following all guidance as given by the government and this will be the source we will follow.

 

Any visits to a property by a landlord/agent, their representatives or contractors must be made in accordance with the government's guidelines on working in other people's homes and social distancing.

 

 

 

INFORMATION & DOCUMENTS FOR LSH REGISTERED ACCOMMODATION PROVIDERS


During this uncertain period, we have worked to keep our registered landlords and letting agents up-to-date with important announcements, guidelines and other relevant information. We have regularly updated this page with these (and other) up-to-date developments and guidance, and below you can view a consolidated source of literature for landlords:

Government guidance for landlords and tenants

https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/stay-alert-to-stay-safe-/resources/

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/hotels-and-other-guest-accommodation

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses#accommodation

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19#working-in-peoples-homes-as-a-tradesperson-cleaner-or-nanny

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy#annex-a-staying-safe-outside-your-home

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#private-cars-and-other-vehicles

https://www.nationalcode.org/news/information-and-advice-on-coronavirus-in-student-accommodation-for-housing-suppliers

https://www.cubo.ac.uk/page/Student_Belongings

https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2020/04/09/university-students-covid19-faq/

www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2020/3/maintenance-work-can-be-carried-out-in-homes-says-government

 

(click images to download)