Sharon Stoltz, Director of Public Health for York, says she has personally intervened with two landlords who were being “particularly difficult” to students who had to self-isolate beyond the end of their tenancy.
She said that she believed this was “just their lack of understanding of the legal restrictions around social isolation”, and thus she had to “[help] them to work through the problem where they’ve got new tenants who are about to come into accommodation but they can’t because others are self-isolating”.
Also speaking alongside Stoltz at a City of York Council Outbreak Management Advisory Board meeting this week, Vice Chancellor Charlie Jeffery criticised this practice, saying: “If they wanted to chuck students out at the end of their lease they would be in effect encouraging students to break the law.
“We would also like them not to charge, and given that there should, in most cases, be a bit of a buffer period between exiting and entering students, it shouldn’t be that difficult to manage.”
While some landlords are not being cooperative, Jeffery said that fewer cases were being raised than in many other university cities, and that “this is not presenting as a big problem”.
Where students are unable to move into new private rented housing because a previous tenant is self-isolating, the Vice Chancellor said that the University would provide temporary accommodation on campus to support any short-term needs.
Stoltz emphasised that there was financial support available through grants to students in private housing, and that there were “extensive support networks in place”, including for international students.
She said she was “confident there shouldn’t be any students who are experiencing difficulties without any support”.