News and events for University of Brighton students

Students in a kitchen at Varley Halls

COVID-19 and University accommodation FAQs – updated 18 May

18 MAY 2020 UPDATE: These FAQs have been updated after the latest government advice due to recent easing of COVID-19 lockdown

NEW: Can I collect my belongings from University accommodation.

Whilst the government may have lifted restrictions on collecting belongings, you should not return to campus until you have been contacted by us and advised of the system that will be put in place to manage this safely. We will send an update email on this shortly, enabling you to book your collection time.


After emailing our University residents on 31 March, we have compiled a number of FAQs around University accommodation during the lock down for Coronavirus. These have been sorted into the following categories:

  • Leaving/have left accommodation 
  • Finance, Refunds
  • Staying in halls
  • Belongings, storage, collection

For any questions that are not answered below please email accommodation@brighton.ac.uk 

You can see the email sent plus other communications on the University website’s dedicated Coronavirus web page.

General questions

What times are the halls’ receptions open?
They are open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm

Will there be staff present?
Staff will be on site from 9am to 5pm and security on site 24/7.

Is there anti-bacteria spray available as students will be touching door handles etc.?
Yes and our cleaners are prioritising touch points throughout the halls.

Will the lifts be working?
Yes.

Will I be able to park in the Phoenix Halls car park at all times?
Yes parking now free until further notice.

Leaving/have left accommodation

I can’t leave my room, my university accommodation is my only home.
Do not worry, you can continue to stay in university accommodation, and the university will continue to do all that we can to support your health and wellbeing. To find out more about how we can support you during this time, please see our wellbeing services available here.   

UPDATED: I want to leave my accommodation now
Government advice has changed and you can now leave student accommodation and travel home, should you be able to do so. 

The Residential Life team are still contactable, and you can find out more about the team here. 

UPDATED: I have already left my accommodation but was unable to take all my belongings with me. Can I come and collect them now?
Yes government advice on this has recently changed but please note our new FAQ on the restrictions around collecting belongings. A booking system will be in place and an email sent shortly on this. 

If your room is needed for NHS key workers, we cannot currently confirm a date when we may have to pack and store your belongings for you.  

If you have opted to terminate your contract, we may need to use your room for civic purposes (for example, NHS workers). If so, the items in your room will be boxed up, labelled and securely stored by university staff. If we do not need the room for civic purposes, we’ll simply ensure the room is locked until you return to collect your belongings. If we need to use your flat, items in communal areas will be boxed per flat ready for when they can be retrieved. Perishable goods in fridges and cupboards will be disposed of in all flats.  

Belongings will be covered under your insurance policy with Endsleigh (PDF).

I have left my room but still have my keys
If you have opted to terminate your contract, please return your keys by signed for/recorded delivery to your halls site by Monday 13 April, if possible. We are aware that for some, and especially overseas students this may be a challenging time-frame so please return your keys as soon as you can. IMPORTANT: Please include your name and student number with your key, but for security purposes please DO NOT include your University address with your key.  

If you live in a Unihome or Unilet, the Accommodation team will be in contact in due course with arrangements about returning your keys.  

If you still have belongings in your room, and can safely collect them within current government restrictions, site staff will give you access when you arrive to collect your belongings. Please note the changes to reception opening times. It is now 09:00-17:00.   

I moved out of my accommodation and moved my belongings, but I haven’t handed in my keys. Do I still get to terminate my contract?
Yes. Please just complete the accommodation intentions form by the 10 April and send the keys as above. 

Finance, Refunds

Does the contract termination apply to all university accommodation?
Yes, all students in university accommodation are now eligible to terminate their contracts early, due to the current circumstances.  

For Brighton this includes: Paddock Field, Great Wilkins, Varley Park, Moulsecoomb Place, Phoenix Brewery, Circus Street, Unihomes and Unilets.  

For Eastbourne this includes: Welkin Halls and Unihomes.  

I paid my rent in full upfront. Can I get a refund?
Yes. We will calculate the rental amount for the third term of your contract and refund any overpayment of rent back to the payer of the rent. Please allow 3 weeks from the 10 April to receive your refund.  

How do I terminate my contract? Is there a cost?
Please complete the form. The University is not charging an early termination fee. However, where a balance is still owed to the university (after the account has been adjusted) students will still be expected to pay. If students are experiencing financial hardship, they should contact the university’s Student Advice Service (studentadvice@brighton.ac.uk). 

Will catering options be refunded too?
Yes. This is included in the rent recalculation. 

Will I receive a confirmation email that I will not pay the third instalment of rent?
Unfortunately, we are unable to send confirmation emails to everyone who applies to terminate their contract. As long as you complete the accommodation intentions form you have been sent by the 10 April confirming your wish to terminate your contract, you are not still in residence, and there is no outstanding balance to pay, then no further payment is required. 

Is there a provision to terminate my contract even after the Easter holidays?
As long as you notify us by the 10 April through the accommodation intentions form, then we will terminate your contract before its original end date and your account will be recalculated. 

Where a balance is still owed to the University for rent, students will still be expected to pay for the additional period. If you are experiencing financial hardship, then please contact the University’s Student Advice Service (studentadvice@brighton.ac.uk). 

Will students still get the final instalment of their maintenance loan?
Yes.

Since we are not being charged for the final term if we are not living there, does it mean that the Uni will remain closed for the final semester.
The University is not closed, we will be continuing to deliver remote learning for the remainder of the academic year.   

Staying in halls

I’m staying until the end of the academic year, but I’m worried what’s going to happen over the summertime as I cannot travel home.
Please do not worry. Contact the accommodation services team and they will talk to you about options to remain in University accommodation and extend your contract.

I am anxious that the University are considering moving NHS key workers into student accommodation.
We obviously understand your anxieties and want to reassure you that we have no plans for NHS key workers to move into any Halls that contain students. Where they might move in, we are ensuring that they will remain completely separate from our student population. They will be in completely separate blocks and flats, where there will be no students, or indeed any contact with them. There will be a limited number and not all Halls will be used. The safety and wellbeing of our students remains our priority hence we are ensuring that control measures are put in place before enabling this to happen, seeking reassurance that it is safe to do so by colleagues at the NHS, who are extremely knowledgeable about infection control.

Belongings, storage, collection

UPDATED: Are students able to return to collect their belongings now?
Current government advice has changed, please see our FAQ on collecting your belongings.

UPDATED: What dates will all belongings be packed for storage in case I can arrange pick up?
Where we contacted you to inform you that we had to securely pack your belongings to enable us to utilise Halls as a civic response to those in need in the City, please see our FAQ on collecting your belongings.

I have left my belongings in my room so just to be clear I don’t have to collect them, or do I have to come and move them into the provided storage?
No, you do not have to collect them. Your room will be locked unless it is needed. We would then securely pack your belongings and store until you are able to collect. 

Is the reception still open so that I can return my keys?
Yes, but please be aware of the current advice on essential travel. 

What happens with our kitchen stuff as its not labelled and therefore they won’t know whose is who’s?
Where we need to pack and store items in a communal area, we will place these all together to be sorted at a later date. We will dispose of perishable items in fridges and cupboards and lock the flat if not needed, or pack anything else that remains if an NHS key worker is moving in.  

How will belongings be stored (how, where, security measures)?
If we need the room for civic purposes the items will be boxed up, labelled and securely stored. If we do not need the room for civic purposes, we’ll simply ensure the room is locked until you return to collect your belongings.

Why do you need to pack up my room?
Where at all possible we’ll use the ‘Lock & Store’ option. Where there is a civic demand to help accommodate key workers, such as NHS staff, we’ll need to ‘Pack & Store’ your items.

Where will my belongings be stored?
They will remain in your room, locked up safely until it’s safe for you collect them.

Is it secure?
Yes, the door will be locked, CCTV in operation and the 24/7 security staff presence will continue.

Is there a charge for storage?
No, this is a free service.

How long CAN belongings be stored for?
We are working within current UK government guidelines and will continue to monitor the situation and contact you as soon as these restrictions enable you to collect your belongings. Where students are overseas this may mean we store your belongings until you return for the new academic year.

When can I collect my things?
As soon as it is safe for you to travel and social distancing measures have been eased.

Will the items be packed carefully?
Yes, we’ve ordered packing materials and have staff available to carry out the packing.

How will I know if my room is needed for Pack & Store?
If your room is required for civic use we’ll contact you directly.

Where will the packed items be stored?
We’ve identified rooms within the accommodation to securely store your items, where they’ll be locked until you are able to collect them.

How much does it cost?
We’ll do this for free if your room is needed for civic use.

What can I do about my bicycle still on university property (at halls)?
Please let us know if you have a bicycle in Halls storage by contacting your halls team contact.  

Can belongings be shipped back to owner?
We are not in a position to ship belongings back to owners. Once travel restrictions are lifted, we would expect students to collect their belongings or collect them when they return for the new academic year. For those where this is impossible, we will look at discussing individual cases at that time. More details on this will follow.   

2020/21 Accommodation

I want to rent my University accommodation for the next academic year, what is the procedure?
If you are eligible to remain in University accommodation for a further year please contact our Accommodation Services team who will talk you through the application process.  

Robin Coleman • April 1, 2020


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