A UNIVERSITY student is appealing for her landlord to reduce her rent amid the coronavirus crisis.

University of Sussex biosciences student Amelia Kinlin-Martin is still being charged rent on her room in Rushlake Close, Coldean, Brighton, even though she cannot travel to the property because of the nationwide lockdown.

Since the university advised students to go home, the 19-year-old has been living in Poole, Dorset with her parents, who have both lost their incomes during the pandemic.

Amelia is now working in a supermarket to help support her family and to afford her £563.33 monthly rent in Brighton.

Her plight is shared by students across the country. Brighton Green MP Caroline Lucas wrote to Amelia personally, saying she had heard from “many students really worried about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their financial situation with money and rent problems an added strain”.

The Argus:

The National Union of Students – which has also written to Amelia – has called for students to be released from their tenancies early.

Elsewhere, students in university-run accommodation have been offered concessions.

Amelia’s twin sister Liberty is at the University of Warwick and her hall of residence fees have been waived for the summer term.

But Amelia’s private landlord has told her she must keep paying. She lives with five other residents.

She said: “Both my parents have lost their income. I look to both of them for support.

“The student loan does not cover all my living costs, not to mention the 12-month rental agreement for a nine-month student year.”

Amelia’s mother and guarantor Sharon Kinlin-Martin said: “It seems the burden of the financial fallout is actually being placed on the shoulders of those least able to afford it.”

Landlord John Blackburn-Panteli said he empathises but insisted his “hands are tied”.

He said: “I’m based in Brighton and I operate a family run medium sized property portfolio business focusing on professional and student let HMO accommodation.

"As such, I have a substantial business loan debt along with associated HMO support costs that need to be serviced on a monthly basis.

“Unfortunately, I’m currently not eligible for any financial support packages being offered by the Government as these are predominantly aimed at individuals to ensure they can meet their financial commitments during this difficult time.

“That said, if any of the tenants living in any of my properties experience financial difficulties, whether that be their maintenance loan being delayed if they are a student or a similar justifiable reason, I’m am always open to discuss a mutually acceptable rent payment schedule.”

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply. To donate visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund