The Best Student Life. Bristol SU

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Housing

Help I am homeless

The Accommodation Office provides short-term emergency accommodation to current students. Examples of situations where you might need to stay in emergency accommodation include: 

  • a fire, flood or similar that means you cannot remain in your usual accommodation,
  • a concern that your personal safety is at risk if you stayed in your usual accommodation.

Visit the university website for more information. 

Useful Covid resources

Download the template letter to send to your landlord - asking them to halt in-person viewings and offer rent reductions.

My rent, my rights

Know your rights as a student tenant. Everything you need to know about renting property as a student, plus check out our Viewing Checklist to help you ace your viewing!

The SU have also worked with The Law Clinic to develop resources for students on Housing Rights.

Advice and Support

Shelterline

If you have nowhere to sleep or might be homeless soon, you have somewhere to sleep, but nowhere to call home or you are/could be at risk of harm you can call Shelterline.

Telephone: 0808 800 4444 (8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm at weekends)

University Private Housing Advisors

The University have a team of Private Housing Advisors, they will provide you with free housing advice within a few working days and can help you with whatever problems in your accommodation you are facing.

Website: www.bristol.ac.uk/accommodation/privately-rented/advice/

Email: accom-private-sector@bristol.ac.uk

CHAS

CHAS are a community-based housing advice service. They offer free, independent, and confidential advice on housing-related matters to anyone in need in Bristol and the surrounding area.

Website: www.chasbristol.co.uk/

Email: advice@chasbristol.co.uk

Bristol City Council

Bristol City Council has a team who can investigate rogue landlords, this could be a landlord is harassing you as a tenant, is renting you a property that doesn’t meet legal standards, is renting a property without a licence, is charging unlawful fees and other things. You can also report problems with the quality of the property you are living in and the Environmental Health department in the local Council can look into any serious repair problems that could put your health at risk.

Website: www.bristol.gov.uk/housing/private-tenants

Tenants' Unions

ACORN

One way to take power back as a tenant is to join a tenants’ union. This is where renters come together and as a collective can stand up to dodgy landlords and letting agencies via direct action and negotiating meetings.

The local tenants’ union to Bristol is called ACORN; they are a network of community organisers who have won millions of pounds back for their members. They stand up for their members who are being exploited, running days of action, training up members in campaigning and member defence, and even stand up against illegal evictions which happen in the community.

How can you get involved and ensure that you have union representation as a renter? You can join ACORN as a member for £3 a month as an unwaged student.

Check out their Facebook page for any events, callouts or trainings. If you need support as a tenant, please join the ACORN tenant support group.

Rent Strikes

As an SU we have policy to support rent strikes in University accommodation. We have created this resource hub for anyone who is looking to organise a strike campaign. We have an FAQs document, a guide on rent striking and a handy how-to-organise checklist. Check out www.rent-strike.org/ for more information and legal guidance on rent striking

Checklist

  1. Get a core team of interested people together who are happy to help organise and start spreading the word – do a call out on social media or spread via word of mouth.
  2. Create social media accounts for the campaign or get hold of existing ones (e.g. Bristol, Cut the Rent or Rent Strike Bristol accounts).
  3. Have an initial meeting to agree clear demands of the campaign (3 or 5 is good), agree on a minimum threshold of signups for the strike to go ahead (e.g. 100), and create a google sign up form asking for email and phone number.
  4. Announce publicly that you are calling a rent strike and spread on social media and in halls group chats.
  5. Create a strike WhatsApp group and Mailchimp and add every new signup to the mailing list and the group chat.
  6. Set up regular strike meetings to create working groups for the campaign – press team, internal email team, social media team, phone-banking strikers team, leafletting and actions team, contacting the Uni team.
  7. Continue regular social media posts and print out some leaflets to spread throughout halls.
  8. Contact the SU so they can send out an all-student email to everyone in halls.
  9. Once you have reached your minimum threshold of signups, email the University to ask for a meeting to discuss your demands.
  10. Keep growing the strike via spreading and regular Zoom meetings and plan an action just before the strike starts where you ‘hand in’ your demands to the University.
  11. Make sure you phone-bank students who have signed up to strike checking if they have cancelled their direct debit!
  12. Once the strike has started, think about an escalation plan to go hand in hand with your meetings with the University to keep the pressure on.
  13. Map out when students are likely to get ‘please pay now’ letters to the University to reassure strikers.
  14. Link up with other rent strike campaigns across the UK for solidarity, support and collective strength.
  15. Keep pushing until you win!