UCL Cut the Rent has announced that after numerous unsuccessful attempts to lower accommodation fees it will now officially endorse another “rent strike”.
On December 27 UCL Cut the Rent posted on Facebook asking students to “temporarily withhold rent from UCL” until their demands are met.
Cut the Rent is demanding an immediate decrease in rent of at least 10% “for all current residents” and for UCL to also guarantee a “10% rent cut for the upcoming academic year.” They also want all of UCL Estates documents linked to “rent-setting” to be immediately published and for there to be “full transparency in Estates finances.”
The Rent Strike comes after Duncan Palmer, the interim Head of Student Accommodation, failed to respond to Cut the Rent’s petition for a “universal 10% rent cut” which had been signed by over 500 students.
Cut the Rent had warned Mr Palmer that they would escalate their actions if he did not respond.
Cut the Rent held a rent strike last year in which nearly 1000 UCL students took part. This lead to UCL granting £1 million in rent subsidies.
However, Cut the Rent still does not feel that UCL has addressed the problem of high rent. They claim that UCL rent prices still hold at “prices far above even market rates.” In the years between 2010 and 2015, UCL rents have increased by 56%. Cut the Rent believes that these high rents are leading to the “exclusion of a whole socio-economic class from studying at UCL”.
For the rent strike to take place, Cut the Rent needs the participation of a minimum of 200 students, but they are currently aiming for 500 students, looking for “safety in numbers.”
If a student participates in the rent strike, UCL can only fine students a “maximum of £25” for not paying rent. However, there is the possibility that UCL could evict students. Cut the Rent thinks this is very unlikely stating that “UCL will not threaten to evict their students as it would be a press humiliation.”
Featured image: UCL Cut the Rent