In this section you will find all you need to know about how Fresh are continuing to provide fantastic service to our residents in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Here we’ve outlined the steps we have taken so far to ensure the health and safety of everyone in our buildings, and answered some frequently asked questions from both existing and future residents.
We’ll be updating these pages regularly so please come back for the very latest information.
Are your buildings open?
All of our buildings are still open and we still have a large number of students living with us.
We have continued to provide a staff presence at all of our locations during the pandemic. This was required so that we ensure that the buildings remained safe and the welfare of our residents is maintained.
Whilst we are encouraging Social Distancing in line with Government Guidelines, all of our Accommodation Teams are directly contactable by phone, Skype or email with any queries or concerns, or just for a friendly chat. We just ask that when visiting Reception, or collecting parcels that you maintain a 2m distance with other residents and our staff and keep washing your hands regularly.
Are social spaces open?
All of our gyms and social spaces remain closed at this time. We are working hard behind the scenes to get these open again in the near future. This may mean that the current arrangements for these facilities will be changed and in some cases restricted. We will continue to follow Public Health England advice to ensure the health and safety of our residents and staff and reviewing other local Guidelines across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Can I move out now?
Under the latest Government advice, published on 26th March in an open letter by Michelle Donelan MP, the Minister of State for Universities strongly advises that students should remain where they are now rather than moving home during the Lockdown period:
“The Government’s advice is that students remaining at university in England should now stay where they are and not attempt to travel. If they are living in student halls, or private rented accommodation, they should remain there and stay indoors while current restrictions are in force.”
We would also recommend you read the most recent information published by Unipol, who oversee the National Code of Standards for Student Accommodation providers.
I’ve already moved out, can I collect my belongings?
Ensuring the safety of our staff and residents is our top priority. We are making arrangements to enable those tenants who have vacated their rooms to return to pick up any belongings that have been left behind. To reduce large numbers of residents returning at any one time we will be implementing a booking system, so that we can control the risk of having too many people in the building at once.
Are visitors allowed?
For the safety of everyone in the building and in compliance with the latest guidelines we are not currently permitting visitors. We accept the current guidance in England regarding socialising outside with one other person outside the household, but In the interest of safety we ask that this is done away from our premises.
What can I do to protect myself from Covid-19?
The scientific evidence suggests that the most effective method of protecting yourself is to social distance, wash hands and keep surfaces clean.
You will notice that around our property we have placed signage regarding social distancing. Please can we ask you to continue to socially distance and comply with the restrictions that we have put in place.
You will have seen our cleaning teams disinfecting all high traffic touch points, such as door handles and bannisters. This is to reduce the risk of the infection spreading through those areas of the building that you touch the most.
You can also help protect yourself by frequency washing your hands for a minimum of twenty seconds and every time you return to the property following a trip to the shops or you’re your outdoor exercise.
Why aren’t all staff wearing masks?
Our staff will not be routinely wearing masks whilst working in reception or doing general administrative tasks. This is because we have procedures in place to maintain social distancing, washing hands and cleaning surfaces.
You will have noticed that at certain times our maintenance operatives or cleaners do wear masks, this is because they are unable to maintain a two metre distance whilst undertaking their role or that they are cleaning an area of the building where there is an increased risk – this so that they can continue to undertake critical jobs at this time.
Are you still providing a maintenance service?
We continue to ensure that any maintenance issues where there is an immediate risk to the health, safety and welfare of our staff or residents are carried out immediately. This includes undertaking tests on safety systems such as the fire alarm system. This will be done by our Maintenance Operative or Contractor who has to follow strict COVID 19 safe working practices. If you have any urgent maintenance issues please contact your Accommodation Team as normal.
How can I collect my post?
Government guidance on the handling of post indicates that the potential risk of transmission of the virus in this way is very low. There is however a risk in receiving post and deliveries from the delivery agents and passing them to yourselves. We are continuing to take mail, but have implemented a safe working procedure for you to pick up your mail.
Are you carrying out room inspections?
Room inspections are a way to ensure that all our residents live in a comfortable and clean environment. We are currently reviewing our internal procedures to enable room inspections to be completed safely during this time.
Can I end my tenancy early?
At Fresh, the properties that we manage are owned by over 30 different Landlords. In many cases the rent they receive from students is the only form of income they receive to meet their obligations to continue to provide high quality accommodation for students.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in the UK has provided additional advice to Landlords and Tenants to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak including the need for Tenants to pay their rent, and for Landlords to make reasonable adjustments for payment plans.
If our Landlords are able to make special arrangements we are getting in touch directly with each student concerned, and many of our Landlords have shown this flexibility. If you haven’t yet heard from us, please bear with us while these discussions continue. We will be in touch directly as soon as we are in a position to do so.
Any student who is suffering particular hardship should always contact our Accommodation Teams as advised by HCLG
For Highlight Student Living specific policies, please click here
Can I leave my room?
Under current Government guidelines, you should only leave for one of the following reasons:
- Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
- One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household, or meeting up with one person from another household but maintaining social distancing
- Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- To carry out your job if you can’t work from home
Can I book for September?
Yes, and whilst we appreciate you may not be able to attend a viewing in person, we can arrange skype viewings and many of our locations have virtual tours – see the “Gallery” page of your chosen location for more.
Many of you will be awaiting further information on what is happening with Exam results, VISAs and of course international travel.
Many of our locations have implemented a flexible booking policy relating to potential effects on University term dates and travel restrictions. Please take a look at your chosen location for the latest details, and we hope to be adding this flexibility to many more schemes over the coming weeks.
At present, unless stated otherwise on your chosen location page, our standard cancellation policy applies. We operate a 72 hour “cooling off” period up to the 31st July so if your circumstances change you can cancel your booking. Once the “Cooling Off” period has expired, you can cancel your booking if:
- You do not have a visa to enter the UK or Ireland
- You have not acquired the grades to be offered a place at the chosen university
- You have failed to achieve the grades to continue your study at university
Please see the “Booking Info” page of your chosen location for more information.
Student Finance Help
In these uncertain times, we know our residents may be worried about their Student Finance.
Student Finance England are following their standard process for payments and the third semester payment should not be affected at this time. They have confirmed that “students will receive their scheduled or next instalment of their maintenance loan at the planned start of their summer term, regardless of whether their university or provider has made alternative arrangements for teaching.”
More information is available here.
SAAS has continuity measures in place to ensure their services remain functioning and endeavour to continue to fund students on time.
More information is available here, and they recommend that students and institutions follow their social media channels for the latest updates.
HEA – The latest information can be found on their website.
Student Finance NI – The latest information can be found on their website.