ignite FAQs

Course structure

Can I study online only in Semester One 2020/21?

Our Ignite programme offers as much face-to-face teaching time as we are able to, whilst still adhering to Government Guidelines on social distancing. Whilst this might be limited to small group teaching only initially, we would expect the amount of face-to-face teaching to increase as the year continues and as social distancing measures are relaxed.

All students are normally expected to attend campus for their Ignite programmes, to gain the benefit of face-to-face delivery, social interaction in an educational setting, and to take advantage of the wider student experience opportunities available on campus. Some elements of courses with practical classes and/or professional accreditation may require students to attend face-to-face teaching.

However, we understand that in some exceptional cases, students may not be able to travel to campus due to Covid-19 restrictions.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment will be largely via electronic submission through our learning management systems. Your assessment will consist of a blend of traditional coursework such as essays, reports and short answer questions, and online exams, tests and exercises. Some courses will retain or re-introduce some traditional, formal examinations when conditions allow.

Similarly, assessments based on presentations or discussions may be online or in person, as conditions allow.

Most courses have a substantial and important element of assessment in later years based on a dissertation or scientific project, where appropriate.

Many science courses will also contain laboratory-based practical assessments. For some of our courses, there may also be assessments based on your year abroad or in industry.

How will exams be held?

Most exams in the 2020/21 academic year are likely to be online.

When taking online exams, students are set a paper and given a set time in which to complete and submit their answers. The time set to submit answers varies according to the course and piece of assessment. Some courses will retain or re-introduce some traditional, formal examinations when conditions allow.

How will lab sessions be held?

This will vary from subject to subject. In some cases labs may continue if it is possible to ensure appropriate social distancing, in other cases there may be digital replacement, or deferral to semester two.

All in-person laboratory sessions will be held with social distancing measures in place as well as extra safety measures. Some laboratory sessions, or elements of them, may be moved online in the form of interactive analysis exercises. Other elements of laboratory work may be run remotely, using a variety of technologies.

If I decide to drop out after the first term what will happen? Can I defer/get a refund?

The University's normal refund policy will apply. You can find out more information about withdrawing from your studies.

How many hours of contact time will I have per week?

All of our subject areas are putting together carefully planned blended delivery programmes. Contact time will remain equivalent to standard campus-based programmes, but not all of this will be face-to-face on campus. Your contact time will include online lectures, which you can watch and re-watch at your own convenience and some face-to-face sessions where social distancing and safety guidelines make this possible. We will also use appropriate technology/ our virtual learning environment to provide you with online tutorials, live Q & A sessions, tutor-led discussion boards and other guided activities, depending on the course you are studying.

Will all courses be ‘dual delivery’?

Dual Delivery is a blended approach to providing education which combines face-to-face, on campus study, with online learning; whilst adhering to Government guidelines on social distancing. All of our courses will be dual delivery. We have long-standing expertise in both campus-based and distance learning, and dual delivery will offer you the best of both.

Will dual delivery affect courses such as ODP, Physio, Nursing, Midwifery, etc. and their placements?

All courses in the Allied Health Professions are subject to strong accreditation conditions, which include very clear requirements on placement work and other activities.

Many courses require in-person placements as an inherent part of the qualification. We will work with all of the appropriate professional bodies to ensure all quality standards are upheld, while ensuring the safety of our students.

Placements will still be made available to students on these programmes, and will be risk-assessed to ensure they comply to any restrictions brought about because of the coronavirus pandemic. There may be some changes to placement locations and patterns to accommodate the new requirements.

Will physical delivery be compulsory?

 We aim to provide as much flexibility as possible for our students, without losing the face-to-face element of our teaching. Some courses, particularly lab-based science courses, may have some elements of the course that require face-to-face teaching and this will take place observing social distancing requirements.

If students are not able to attend face-to-face events, they should make their School aware of this.

Will all departments offer ‘dual delivery’? How will it work with practical subjects, such as the sciences?

All our courses will be dual delivery, using a blend of face-to-face and online teaching during semester one. For practical subjects, such as the science and engineering, some elements of the course will require face-to-face teaching sessions such as limited laboratory sessions - these may go ahead, be moved to semester two or be replaced with digital alternatives. Please contact your school for further information.

All in-person laboratory sessions will be held with social distancing measures in place. These sessions will run as normal, but with extra safety measures in place for our students and staff.

Will there be regular contact with a personal tutor?

Supporting you in your studies is key to the educational approach of the University of Leicester. Your personal tutor will be available on campus and/or online, as appropriate to suit your needs at the time.

Will my degree certificate say distance learning?

Successful completion of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree programme with us whatever your mode of study - fully online, campus-based with substantial online elements (known as blended or dual-mode learning), or fully campus-based, face-to-face learning - culminate in an academic award (e.g. a BA, BSc, MA or MSc) from the University of Leicester. Degree certificates do not indicate the mode of study you have followed.

My course has a year abroad, will this still take place?

For those courses where a trip overseas is required we will make the decision based on the UK Government advice, as well as that of the Government for the outbound country of travel, in line with our respective guidance and policies for travel.

My course has a placement, will this still take place?

The University is committed to ensuring that placements continue wherever possible. We will ensure that external organisations, where the placement is to take place, are fully risk assessed. In some cases, where a physical placement cannot take place, we will work to provide a virtual placement

My course has a field trip in Semester 1, will this still take place?

Unfortunately all field trips during Semester 1 have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The University are currently reviewing the arrangements for field trips planned for Semester 2. More information will be available about this when a decision has been made.

My course has a field trip in Semester 2, will this still take place?

The University are currently reviewing the arrangements for field trips planned for Semester 2. More information will be available about this when a decision has been made.

How many hours will there be online and how many hours will there be of actual contact time?

The benefit of ignite is that it is designed to support your individual needs and those of the course you are studying as well as being able to react to any changes regarding the global management of COVID-19.

Therefore no person or course will be the same. However, you will be guaranteed the same high quality of delivery of teaching, and one that is in line with regulations for UK higher education.

Will my qualification still be recognised in my home country?

The degree will be regarded as a standard UK/British undergraduate/postgraduate qualification as it will be run as an enhanced blended programme.

When will the University start to offer face to face teaching again?

The University is making plans for study to resume on campus in September 2020, as part of the ignite learning approach. However, this remains subject to UK Government safety guidelines.

Will I be able to study just online if I cannot attend as an international applicant?

Whilst we understand things may be difficult for international students, our ignite programme will be in line with UKVI requirements. We are also offering January starts for our postgraduate programmes, enabling students to defer their studies.

We believe that all of our students will benefit from, and enjoy the combined on-campus and online learning experience that ignite offers, we will therefore not be making the first semester online only.

Can I opt for 100% online rather than ‘dual delivery’?

Ignite is our new campus-based offer. All programmes will run in this way for semester one, 2020. Ignite delivers a blended learning approach which aims to give you as much of a campus experience as possible, supported with online delivery. However, if you are shielding or self-isolating we will make sure you don't miss out. You can get in touch to discuss your personal circumstances with admissions@leicester.ac.uk

If students are interested in undertaking Distance Learning course, we have long-standing experience of delivering Distance Learning programmes which are taught entirely online, this option wouldn't replace our ignite offer and would be a different programme. Find out more about distance learning on our website.

Is there a discount for studying online?

We are experienced in delivering high quality education both online and on campus. Whilst we know that there are likely to be restrictions on large group teaching, such as lectures, next year we will be aiming to give you as much of a campus experience as possible.

With the development of ignite, we will be enhancing many aspects of our campus-based programmes, bringing new flexibility, new ways to learn and new ways to engage.

We are planning for all of our campus services and facilities to be delivered on-campus or online and we are committed to delivering the highest quality of educational experience. We have a wide range of scholarships and bursaries available and you can visit our scholarship pages for more information. Tuition fees will be maintained as currently published.

Can I defer to January instead?/Will you offer a January intake?

We have created a portfolio of PGT subjects for January start dates, but our undergraduate remain as September start dates.

Can I defer to next year instead?

Whilst applicants (with the exception of medicine) can take the option of deferring for 12 months, we believe that ignite will provide the benefits of study on campus along with a safe and secure online offer that will not disadvantage any student. We would encourage everyone to start their path into transformative higher education as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, please contact admissions@leicester.ac.uk

Can I start the course in my own country and then join once the campus is open?

We would want all our students to benefit from the combination of online and on-campus learning approach that ignite allows. The University’s campus-based taught Ignite degree programmes will be full-time dual delivery in 2020/21. The University’s expectation is that international students will start their studies in the UK and attend in accordance with the expectations of their programme. However, in exceptional circumstances new international students may be offered the option to study semester one online in the first instance, if they are unable or unwilling to travel to the UK due to Covid-19. Students would be required to make a request for exemption, explaining their exceptional circumstances to their academic School which, if it is able to support the request, will be forwarded to the Academic Registrar for consideration and approval.

Will your courses be running normally in Jan/Sep 2021?

Courses will be delivered through the Dual Delivery model described above. The terms dates are:

Term/Semester Dates

Term One

28 September 2020 - 18 December 2020

Term Two

11 January 2021 - 31 March 2021

Term Three

3 May 2021* - 11 June 2021

Semester One

28 September 2020 - 17 January 2021

Semester Two

18 January 2021 - 11 June 2021

Will the course duration change?

No, normal term dates will apply.

Term/Semester Dates

Term One

28 September 2020 - 18 December 2020

Term Two

11 January 2021 - 31 March 2021

Term Three

3 May 2021 - 11 June 2021

Semester One

28 September 2020 - 17 January 2021

Semester Two

18 January 2021 - 11 June 2021

I can’t afford a laptop; how will I be able to learn at university?

The University has created a specific digital hardship fund to support students in technology training and infrastructure.

When do we get our university email?

Your University IT account, including your University email address, will be created up to 24 hours after you register for your course. You will receive an email to confirm when it is ready to use.

You will set a password as the final step of registration. Ensure you remember your password, so that you can use your University IT account, email and calendar.

Social Distancing

Can I still access the library and other facilities on campus?

Our library, whilst subject to social distancing obligations, will be open. However our digital library with over 550,00 e-books, our enquiry service and support for staff and students is available virtually 24/7.

We have an electronic reading list system embedded in our module resources that links you straight to each digital resource.

Will the students Union still offer social activities?

The University and Students' Union will run a regular programme of virtual and on-campus socially distanced events throughout the year, including more than 200 clubs and societies to chose from.

What interaction will I have with other students?

Academic and social events will be offered on campus and online, allowing opportunities for study and social interactions with other students, observing social-distancing wherever required. We will also take advantage of our Distance Learning expertise to embed group work and social interaction into your online teaching. Many of our courses contain regular group work, group discussions and other community-building activities. We know that you learn better when you feel supported by the community around you.

What interaction will I have with staff?

Personal Tutors or other academics will be available to provide support, along with Student Support Services. You will have regular contact with staff in all your modules, either in person or via interactive online sessions and individual consultations. University support staff will also be available to you either in person or online as UK Government guidelines allow.

Will the lack of in-person lectures have a negative impact on my studies?

The group work with students, your tutorials and seminars are some of the most valuable moments of contact time when studying at University.

With lectures being recorded you can play back and rewatch as many times as you want, as well as being able to contact the academics directly with queries or discussion items. Even in normal times, we encourage staff to record lectures and make them available to students wherever possible. It is hugely valuable to your learning to be able to stop and start the recording and work at your own pace. We will ensure that you still receive the interactive discussions and problem solving sessions, as well as tailored support from lecturers where necessary. We are confident that your educational experience will be high quality in our blended format.

How much of a campus experience will students get if they only attend seminars and virtual lecture captures?

The group work with students, your tutorials and seminars are some of the most valuable moments of contact time when studying at University Combine this with our re-developed social learning spaces, our student support services, University and Students' Union events programme you will get a full university experience.

What are the benefits of blended learning as opposed to distance learning?

Blended learning differs from Distance Learning in that not all learning is remote. Blended learning provides a blend of on-campus and remote learning within a single course.

This will combine pre-prepared non-interactive content accessed online such as recorded lectures, presentations on key concepts and recorded debates with pre-prepared interactive content accessed online such as quizzes, self tests, scenario simulations, then synchronous interactive content and study support accessed online and in person such as seminars, webinars, workshops, Q&A sessions.

How will social distancing be put in place in the labs?

Following guidance produced by the UK Government all laboratory spaces will be subject to social distancing.

Is the Library open 24 hours?

Our library, whilst subject to social distancing obligations will be open. However our digital library with over 550,000 e-books, our enquiry service and support for staff and students is available virtually 24/7.

How will you ensure safety of students in communal areas and that social distancing is adhered to?

All open buildings have been modified to comply with statutory requirements and will be clearly identified as being COVID-19 secure.

There will be social distancing, sanitising and cleaning measures in place with particular attention to teaching spaces, meeting rooms and laboratories. Our security team will also act as wardens to ensure all regulations are adhered to.

How will ‘group’ working take place?

There are many ways in which group working can safely still take place. On campus, we will provide “Specially adapted and bookable social learning spaces for students and staff. Online, we will use our up-to-date digital technology to facilitate discussion boards, online seminars, break out groups and live Q and As.

What extra support will you be providing for students with possible learning disabilities, or disabilities who may find online lectures more of a challenge?

The University offers a range of support, including providing specialist equipment, dedicated study spaces, specialist software, note-takers, personal learning support advisers and academic skills advisers.

Will I still be able to play sports at University?

It will still be possible to play sports at the University, however there may be some restrictions in accordance with UK Government guidelines. Individual sports such as tennis are available now but team sports are not possible.

Will we be required to wear face mask or when we are meeting face to face for personal tutor?

The current University policy is that face coverings will be worn by staff and students whilst working on Campus. It is one of the controls we have put in place to minimise the spread of the virus from individual to individual. We will review our approach, over time, in line with Government guidelines. If you are working alone in an office or seminar room, you will not be required to wear face coverings.

Can we expect the social aspect of university to be quite limited when we start? (e.g sports)

Many of our society experiences will be different to previous years. UK-wide social distancing regulations will make society socials very different, with smaller, in-person events still able to take place (following thorough risk assessment, and taking amended room occupancy into account).

For sports the BUCS national competition will not be starting until the New Year, and training will be taking place following social distancing guidelines. Our Sports & Active Life partners are considering proposals to develop local competitions in the meantime.

Our student groups will be working on community-building activities in digital spaces as well as in smaller face-to-face groups.

Will we still be able to join societies?

A digital Freshers’ Fair will take place on the 28th and 29th September 2020. This will give students a chance to meet all clubs and societies 'in person' and find out what they’ll be offering to prospective members this year before joining.

Students will also be able to join clubs and societies before they arrive, should they wish to do so. The Union has over 230 actively registered groups for the start of the year ahead.

Tier 4 Visa

Continuing international students (Undergraduate and Postgraduate)

At the moment, there is a temporary concession granted by the Home Office to enable us to continue to sponsor your Tier 4 visa if you are studying 100% online in the UK. We do not currently know if the Home Office will extend this temporary concession or not.

If the temporary concession is extended, and you are in the UK, you may be able to study online only for Semester One.

If the temporary concession is not extended, and you are in the UK, the terms of your visa means you will have to attend face-to-face teaching on the University campus.

If you are not currently in the UK, hold a Tier 4 visa, but are unable or unwilling to return to the UK to study in September due to coronavirus, the following applies:

  • you are able to study online only from the country where you are currently living;
  • we would continue to sponsor your Tier 4 visa so you are able to return to the UK when the travel restrictions are lifted;
  • we will adjust your record to reflect that you are studying remotely in your home country. You must inform us if this changes and you return to the UK.

New international students (Undergraduate and Postgraduate)

If you have already been issued with a CAS but are no longer able, or willing to travel to the UK due to coronavirus, we will amend your record with the Home Office UKVI to say that you are not required to be in the country before January 2021 – this would prevent the issue of a visa on your CAS. This would cover students who change their minds about attending between now and August.

New international students already in the UK on the basis of a previous visa (ie for an international school or college) will be covered by the recent UKVI concession which would allow you to study in the UK on an online only basis, but you will still need to apply for a new Tier 4 visa to commence study with the University.

Will I be able to get a Tier 4 visa for this kind of programme?

Yes, you’ll be able to study your course using a Tier 4 visa. All courses will meet the minimum requirements of UKVI for the purpose of full-time campus-based study in the UK.

Will I still be eligible for the post study work visa?

This scheme is likely to be launched in Summer 2021. The UK Government have not published any further information yet, but this is expected to be available in April 2021.

Will there still be an opportunity to work part time during my studies?

Where your visa permits work you can still do this.

Will there be any COVID-19 health testing as a condition of the Tier 4 visa

New quarantine rules come in to force on 8th June, and new arrivals will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

UK Government advice may change in time for September. The University does not currently have plans to introduce any COVID-19 health testing as part of its admissions or registration processes.

We are not currently aware of any additional UKVI requirements for Tier 4 visa holders, except 14 day's quarantine applying to all international arrivals into the UK.

Will I need to attend a visa checkpoint?

Yes, all international students will still need to attend a visa checkpoint.

How will I attend the course if visa centres are still closed?

You will need to apply for your Tier 4 visa once your visa application centre re-opens. Please contact our admissions as soon as possible and we will do everything we can to support you.

We are offering pre-sessional online programmes so you can commence your English online if you would like - to find out about our English language provision email admissions@leicester.ac.uk

I am not allowed to study part time on a tier 4 visa - will blended learning effect my study visa?

 Yes, you’ll be able to study your course using a Tier 4 visa - ignite is classed as full-time study.

Can a student meet attendance monitoring requirements?

Yes, the University's attendance monitoring system will be updated to reflect the new blended mode of delivery, and the University will make sure all courses meet the minimum attendance requirements for Tier 4 visa compliance.

How do I collect my BRP within 10 days if I am in quarantine?

You must usually do this before the vignette sticker in your travel document expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later. However, the UKVI accept that because of Covid-19 some students will be unable to do this and these students will not be penalised.

Do I need to tell anyone I will be late collecting my BRP if I need to quarantine on arrival?

No, you just need to collect your BRP as soon as possible after your quarantine period. In the meantime, please scan and email your immigration documents (passport and entry clearance) to visas@le.ac.uk when you arrive in the UK so we can update your record in advance of you collecting your BRP.

Am I required to register with the police within 7 days?

You are currently unable to register with the police as the Overseas Visitors Records Office (Police Station) in Leicester is currently closed due to Covid-19 and all appointments have been cancelled until further notice. You must register an online account and check the website regularly so you are able to book an appointment when they become available. You will not be penalised for not registering or having a certificate within the 7 day requirement as the police will be able to confirm your online registration.

Do I stay in quarantine accommodation for the whole year or move after the quarantine period to a different hall?

Where possible we will allocate students to their term time room for the quarantine period. This would mean the students do not have to move. If students who need to quarantine are able to arrive together, they can also form their household immediately and stay with the same group. There may be some cases where we will not be able to move students directly in to their term time room, in this instance they will stay in a separate quarantine flat and will then be introduced into their new household and new room once the quarantine period is over.

How does the quarantine food service work?

We will provide an initial food pack, kitchen pack and bedding pack for all quarantining students on arrival. We will be onsite to help with food deliveries to the 24/7 receptions and the Reslife team can support with click and collect and other access to deliveries.

Do you provide quarantine for family groups? If so how does that work?

Depending on availability, we will offer quarantine accommodation for family members. In this case, the student would not be able to quarantine with their new household and it is less likely that they would be able to move directly into their term time room. The quarantine period is free for students with an ongoing booking with us. However, family members will be charged a nightly rate for their room (prices starting from £25 per night). The family members would only be able to stay in the accommodation for the duration of the quarantine period and must check out at the end of the quarantine. These enquiries should contact accommodation@le.ac.uk. Family members could also book rooms at College Court during or after the quarantine period.

Fees

Can I pay a lower fee if I am studying online only via distance learning?

The UK Government has made clear that all UK universities should continue to charge full fees for their mainstream provision in 2020/21, because the quality of the learning and teaching experience is still being delivered, albeit through digital rather than face-to-face methods in some cases.

Our ignite programmes are campus-based programmes which are having to make use of online learning to replace some face-to-face learning because of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing measures, and are therefore subject to this Government requirement.

Our distance learning courses are structured and delivered very differently from our ignite programmes. Distance learning courses are mainly delivered as part-time courses and student eligibility for SLC tuition fee and maintenance loan is therefore very different.

Will my fees be discounted?

Tuition fees will not be affected and will be charged in the normal way in accordance with the latest guidance from the Department for Education. Tuition will continue to be delivered in full through a blend of digital and campus modes.

Find out more about our wide range of scholarships and bursaries.

Why should I pay full price for accommodation/tuition when I am only attending a few hours a week? I’ll just do a distance learning course instead.

We have introduced flexible accommodation packages which you can tailor to your study needs - daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. Although the course is being delivered in a blended learning mode, this does not mean it is of lower quality.

To find out more about our offer for Distance Learning email dlstudy@leicester.ac.uk

Attending campus

New and continuing Home / EU Undergraduate students

Students would normally be expected to attend campus for the face-to-face sessions scheduled in their timetables. Students will be ineligible to receive the Student Loan Company (SLC) maintenance loan if you do not attend campus.

New and continuing Home / EU Postgraduate students

Students would normally be expected to attend campus for the face-to-face sessions scheduled in their timetables.

If you are commuting to uni by car do students get free parking?

If you are driving to campus there may be parking available in one of our car parks, but we are unable to guarantee this. Parking on campus is pay as you go. There are also public pay and display car parks available near Victoria Park.

Arrival

How will I travel safely from the airport to my accommodation?

We will be providing an airport pick up service for both September and January and further information will be published over the summer.

Will there be any health testing required before I can commence my studies?

 We will follow all UK Government recommendations for both students residing in the UK and inbound students from overseas.

How will the orientation programme be delivered?

Welcome to our World orientation and Welcome Week will be delivered virtually in Autumn 2020, with a small selection of on-campus events.

As we are in unusual times orientation and welcome will instead become a 9-month programme of activity to ensure we create a strong and vibrant student community.

Will I need to be in quarantine for 14 days when I arrive? How can I do this? What's the arrangement? Any extra cost?

If you have travelled from outside the UK, and have to go into quarantine, for that period we will put you in a flat with other students who travelled with you with no more than three students per flat.

We will keep in touch regularly to check everything is okay. We will ensure that you have access to food, bedding, toiletries etc. No-one will enter your flat during your quarantine period, except for emergencies.

After your quarantine period, we will assign you to your regular accommodation with other students. There will be no extra cost, the period of let will include the quarantine. When a student who is not resident in the UK books accommodation, if they are still required to quarantine, the University will build this into your arrival period so they can quarantine with us. This will be updated in-line with UK Government advice as and when it changes. It is advised that you allow for time to quarantine when booking your flights.

Teachers and Advisers

Will students have the choice of attending virtually or physically (if they are of higher risk, for example)?

Students who are shielding or at higher risk will have the choice of attending sessions virtually. If students are not able to attend face-to-face events, they should make their School aware of this.

Some elements of courses with practical classes and/or professional accreditation may require students to attend face-to-face teaching. In these cases, we will work with the student to ensure that we have the right support package in place.

Will students who experience financial hardship receive help and support in virtual delivery, such as help towards costs of laptops/tablets?

Yes, the University has extensive hardship fund provision and is also extending its loan laptop scheme to support students who are not able to provide their own equipment.

How will students who have caring responsibilities be supported?

The dual delivery approach of ignite will offer more flexibility than ever before and support our students to manage their responsibilities while engaging with their learning.

Student Support Services offers dedicated support to students with caring responsibilities, including advice and guidance on finance and study arrangements.

I have students who will be staying at home but do not have access to the internet - will they receive any help if they are not able to use computers on campus?

The University will do its best to make reasonable adjustments for students not able to access the internet from home, including the provision of equipment in some cases. However, the normal expectation is that students are able to access the internet.

University Accommodation

What is the arrival process?

Your safety is our priority at all times. We will spread out arrivals as much as we can, and there will be screens and safe queuing measures to ensure social distancing.

All rooms will have been cleaned and disinfected.

We will limit the number of people allowed on to site during the move-in process to two per family, so please only travel with one other person.

We will allocate communal spaces for saying goodbye so that the person with you is inside your accommodation as little as possible.

What is the University accommodation policy for accepting early arrivals e.g. two weeks prior to the course start date?

Quarantine will be built into the accommodation package so there is no extra cost. In terms of getting everyone into accommodation safely within current guidelines, there are options to bring bulky items and collect your key over the summer when it is less busy. We want to ensure we place everyone in accommodation in-line with current UK Government guidance to observe social distancing.

When do accommodation decisions need to be made?

For those in their first year of study, university accommodation is guaranteed as long as applications are made before 1st September. We will, however, still continue to offer accommodation after this date.

How will social distancing be put in place within the accommodation?

UK Government advice often refers to members of a household. When you move into your accommodation, the other students sharing spaces (kitchen/bathroom) with you are your new household.

You will not be allowed any visitors from outside your household. This includes students from other flats in the same hall. You will have access to large communal spaces and outdoor areas where you can meet people from outside your household while following the social distancing guidelines.

We will clean shared bathrooms twice each week. We will also provide cleaning materials and how-to guides so that you can clean these spaces yourself before and after using them.

Cleaning shared kitchens is your responsibility. We will provide cleaning materials and top up these supplies every week. We will also provide you with how-to guides and advice on hygiene. We will do spot checks to ensure that kitchens are being kept clean.

How will social distancing be put in place within communal areas of accommodation?

 All our accommodation buildings have signposted hand-washing facilities and hygiene information.

We have sanitiser dispensers and touchpoint wiping stations in all accommodation entrances and communal areas.

We will clean lifts daily. The maximum number of people per lift has been reduced with notices on each floor and floor marking in the lift itself to make this clear. There are wiping stations on the ground floor of each building. Remember that there are also stairs.

When post arrives for you, we will send you an email. You will be able to collect it from reception in a safe, contactless way. There are Amazon lockers in The Village and the Students’ Union.

Social distancing and accommodation welcome events

Our Welcome Talks will be live and virtual, with a virtual meet and greet for the Residential Advisers (RAs) in each hall.

We are organising a mix of safe social distance events and virtual events throughout term. Events calendars for each site will be published before term starts. Available facilities will be bookable in advance.

There will be a special programme of online events for any students who are quarantining or self-isolating.

We will offer information sessions on topics such as cleaning/hygiene and how to make your own face covering.

How will I safely travel from The Village accommodation to Campus?

If you are living in The Village, you may want to consider bringing or hiring a bicycle. There are bicycle lanes between the accommodation and campus. Leicester City Council is investing in an extensive network of additional bicycle lanes around the city, including some leading to and from campus.

If there’s enough demand, we will operate a students-only bus service between accommodation and campus, designed to allow social distancing.

What types of accommodation contracts are now on offer?

To make things easier during this time, we have developed a range of accommodation contracts:

  • term 1 contract: from Freshers' Week to the Christmas break
  • terms 2 and 3 contract: from the Christmas break to the summer vacation (including the Easter break)
  • full year contract: 39 weeks in The Village, or 42 weeks in The City. (A 52-week contract in The City is available for postgraduate students only)
  • weekly contract: where we have space available, and taking into account social distancing, we will offer week-by-week contracts. We will provide one set of bedding, a towel and basic kitchen equipment which you can use during your stay and you will have access to our cleaning and laundry facilities.

Will students still have accommodation guaranteed as a first year?

Yes, any student in their first year of study is guaranteed a room if they apply for accommodation before 1 September.

Will there be less accommodation available if you need to socially distance?

Where possible, we will space students out in accommodation to avoid unnecessary contact, specifically where there are shared facilities. Students sharing flats and facilities will form a ‘household’ so they can socialise safely. However, if you apply for accommodation before 1 September, we will guarantee you a place in University-managed accommodation.

Will the costs of accommodation differ as a result?

No, the prices are the same regardless of social distancing. The packages available in University managed accommodation for next year are very different and very flexible, everything from rooms by the night and the week, (although there is limited availability of these), through to term 1 and then term 2/3. You can choose the package that is best for you, depending on what you need to support the way you are being taught.

When is the deadline to get university accommodation?

The deadline for guaranteed accommodation for first year students is 1st September 2020.

Accommodation will most likely be available after 1st September, but we cannot guarantee it. It is always best to contact the accommodation team at accommodation@leicester.ac.uk as we can help find you accommodation.

Private Accommodation

General information

This Guide is intended to provide friendly and helpful advice in regard to securing private accommodation. This Guide is not designed to provide professional or legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Please consider whether the information is appropriate to your circumstances and where appropriate seek advice.

Further advise is available through student support on +44 (0)116 223 1185, welfare@le.ac.uk and your students union housing advisor.

Before you start

Right to Rent

You will have to show you and any other adults that will be living with you have the ‘right to rent’ in the UK. Your landlord or letting agent will ask to see your immigration documents or passport when you start or renew your tenancy. They will also ask to see the documents of any other adults living with you. They do this to check you have the right to live in the UK and to rent - this is called the ‘right to rent check’. More information about the documents you can show for the right to rent check on GOV.UK

Guarantors

You might be asked to provide a guarantor, for example if you haven't rented before. A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay the rent if you don't - you could ask your parents or someone else in your family to do this. It is very important that any such guarantee specifically limits your guarantors financial liability to just your rent/damages. Before anyone signs, it is important that both you and your guarantor understand that if you default on rent or the cost of damage your guarantor will be responsible for making payment.

It is also important to understand that if you enter into a contract with joint liability and your guarantor signs a general guarantee, there is a significant financial risk to the guarantor. If another tenant moves out or fails to pay the rent, your guarantor could be taken to court under the terms of the guarantee, even if you have paid your rent. The advice is: don't ask a guarantor to enter into any guarantee which does not specify the limit of financial liability being guaranteed.

If you have a credit rating or a reference from a previous landlord to provide comfort to a potential new landlord, then many landlords may reconsider their request for a guarantee.

The process of renting

Negotiating with your landlord or letting agent

  • It’s worth trying to negotiate with your landlord or letting agent when you find a property - this can save you some money

You can negotiate to get:

  • cheaper rent
  • the length of your tenancy and other terms changed, for example you can ask if the rent can include any bills

You should remember when negotiating that there is a risk that the property could be offered to someone else. Get what you agree in writing - you might need to refer back to what was said if there are problems.

Ask about all payments before taking a property so you don’t have to deal with any unexpected costs. Get a receipt from your landlord or letting agent when you pay any money - you'll need this in case there are any problems.

Deposits

You will normally be required to pay a deposit to the agent/landlord as security in case you damage the property or furnishings. It can also be used to cover unpaid bills, rent or missing items. Most agents/landlords will ask for a sum equivalent to four weeks' or a calendar month's rent but the maximum an agent/landlord can charge by law is a sixth of the annual rent payable in England and Wales and two months rent in Scotland. In order to ensure that you get your deposit back:

  • Ensure that you have a written statement from the landlord explaining what is covered by the deposit (this will normally be covered by a clause in the tenancy agreement). If the landlord gives a verbal explanation, write to him/her to confirm the details.
  • Ensure that you have a receipt for monies paid.
  • Ensure that you have a full inventory of furniture. Get the agent/landlord to sign it. You may wish to take photographs.
  • Take reasonable care of the house and furniture during the tenancy.
  • Towards the end of your tenancy write to the agent/landlord inviting him/her to inspect the property.
  • Settle all the bills.
  • When you leave return all the keys to the agent/landlord and make a written request for the return of your deposit.

Since April 2007, deposits paid by tenants who have assured shorthold tenancy agreements are safeguarded by a Government sponsored scheme, which facilitates the resolution of any disputes that arise in connection with such deposits.

There are two types of scheme:

  1. Custodial Scheme - a tenant pays the deposit to the landlord who in turn places it into a designated scheme account. When the scheme administrator returns the deposit to either the tenant or the landlord it is done so with interest at a rate specified by the Government. If they are not in agreement, a final court order will have to be obtained specifying the proportion of the deposit to which each is entitled.
  2. Insurance based schemes - a tenant pays the deposit to the landlord who only transfers it into a designated scheme if there is a dispute at the end of the agreement. When the landlord and tenant reach agreement or a court decides how much each party is entitled the administrator will distribute the deposit accordingly.

If an agent/landlord fails to pay the deposit to the scheme then a scheme will have adequate insurance cover to compensate the tenant in the event they are owed monies.

Within 30 days of receiving your deposit your agent/landlord must give you the relevant information regarding the scheme safeguarding your deposit. You should always check that the scheme has received your deposit.

More information see Tenancy deposit protection.

Paying in advance

Paying in advance is different to a deposit. You might be asked to pay 1 to 2 months' rent before you move in. This is called paying 'rent in advance'. The actual amount you’II pay will depend on your landlord and your written agreement. By paying your rent in advance you'll always be paying rent for the month ahead. You might be asked to pay several months’ rent in advance if there’s a problem with your credit check, references or you do not have a guarantor.

Make sure that you have receipts for any monies paid and that you are clear as to why you are being asked to pay in advance.

Contracts

The type of contract you sign will depend on where you will be living. If you are planning on moving into a shared property, you need to be aware that your contract will make you responsible and accountable to your landlord either through joint or individual liability.

Renting from a landlord/agent

Most landlords/agents use an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement. This is for a fixed term of 12 months; that is, it has a start date and an end date. If you sign a fixed term contract you are liable to pay rent for the full period, unless there is a specific clause allowing you to give notice to quit (which is very rare). This type of agreement means that you are a tenant and have exclusive possession of the property. The landlord/agent can have access to the property (e.g. for repairs/inspections), but you should be given notice and they should only call during reasonable working hours.

Joint liability

If you have signed the same contract as your housemates and you all agree to take the property at the same time; you will be jointly and severally liable with each of your housemates for any rent arrears and/or damage to the property. So, if one tenant moves out, the landlord/agent can pursue the remaining tenants (as well as the tenant who has left) for any monies due

Individual liability

If you have a separate agreement between you and the landlord/agent, and another tenant leaves, the landlord/agent cannot ask that you cover their rent. You would be liable for any damage to your room. The landlord/agent can make a charge for any damage to communal areas but they have to first try and find out who was responsible.

Reviewing a contract before signing

Do not sign a contract if you are not happy with the terms or there are any aspects of the agreement you don't understand. You should always be given at least 24 hours to read the contract through. Where possible always get your contract checked. Never sign on the spot. Once signed, the contract is legally binding on all parties - you do not get a chance to change your mind.

Restrictions on the terms and conditions a landlord can write into a contract

Landlords are not free to write into contracts any terms and conditions they want. They are restricted in what they can do by the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations (1999), which apply to all rented tenancies. Any clauses deemed unfair could be unenforceable. This only refers to the standard terms of a contract (not clauses that have been separately negotiated). Examples of Unfair Terms could be penalty charges, exclusion by the landlord/agent of accepting responsibility for loss or damage to personal property and ambiguous legal clauses. If you are unsure, do not sign and take advise.

Top tips

Read the contract

Be absolutely clear about the terms and conditions. It is essential you read through and fully understand all the terms and conditions stated on the contract. This includes any handbook or additional contract sheets you are given. If there is a dispute then the contract is the first point of reference and would be used as the main source of evidence in any court case.

Once a contract has been signed the terms and conditions cannot be altered unless both parties agree.

Get the details

The contract should include the full contact details of the landlord/agent. If you are renting via an agency make sure you also have the landlord's full contact details. You are legally entitled to this information. If you have just a name and telephone number, it could be very difficult to pursue the landlord/agent should a dispute arise.

Know what you have to pay

The contract should also make clear what rent payments are due and when. In addition to this, it should be clear who is responsible for the bills, e.g. water rates. Before you sign a contract, check that the advertised rent is what is stated on the contract. Errors do occur and if you sign the contract, it may be difficult to argue later, especially if you do not have the original advert.

Don’t sign on behalf of someone else

Never sign a contract on behalf of your housemates. Even if their name is on the contract, if they do not sign the agreement and decide not to move in, you could be held liable for the rent of the whole house.

Deposits and Advance Payments

If you have paid a deposit or an advanced payment, but not signed a contract for your accommodation, then you may still be able to change your mind if you no longer want the accommodation. You should read the terms of the deposit or advanced payment to see if this is refundable as you may lose your deposit or advanced payment if you cancel.

Cancelling may still be the best option for you if you have found a better deal elsewhere, take some independent advice to be certain before taking any action.

Record keeping

Keep all correspondence and ask for things in writing, this helps should you get into a dispute with your Landlord.

Above all if something is not clear or you don’t understand the contract take independent professional advice.

Responsibilities

Your Agent/Landlord is responsible for...

  • Keeping in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling house, including drains, gutters and external pipes.
  • Keeping in repair and proper working order the installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences and for heating rooms and heating water.
  • Providing a rent book if statute so requires e.g., where the rent is paid weekly.
  • Providing you with the agents/landlords full name and address.
  • Providing you with a copy of the valid current Gas Safety Certificate (see Standards).
  • Allowing you to "peacefully enjoy" your accommodation (unless there is an emergency).
  • Agents/Landlords have the right to enter the property at reasonable times to carry out the repairs for which they are responsible and to inspect the condition and the state of repair of the property. They must give at least 24 hours notice in writing of an inspection. It would be helpful to set out the arrangements for access and procedures for getting repairs done in the tenancy agreement.
  • Providing you with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

You are responsible for...

  • Acting in a "Tenant-like manner". This means you should perform the smaller tasks around the house such as, unblocking the sink when clogged with waste and cleaning the windows when necessary.
  • Not damaging the house, if you do then you and your guests are responsible for the repairs.
  • Refuse collection! Remember to find out the collection day from your local council. Put the wheelie bin out - and bring it back in again, it is illegal to leave it on the street.
  • Securing the property when you go away, lock all the doors and windows!
  • Being reasonable about noise and parties, e.g. let your neighbours know in advance.
  • Reporting all repairs needed to the agent/landlord (preferably in writing). The landlord's/agent's responsibility to repair begins only when they are aware of the problem.

Some common problems and questions with private accommodation

Can I give the landlord/agent notice?

You must first check your contract. If there is a clause allowing you to give notice to quit, then, providing proper notice is given, you could move out. If you have signed a fixed term agreement with no such clause then you remain liable for the rent.

I have paid a deposit for next year, and I no longer need the accommodation can I get the deposit back?

You will need to check the terms of the deposit or advanced payment to see if this is refundable. If you have already signed your contract and there is no clause allowing you to give notice then you may still be liable for the term of the contract. Depending on the terms of the deposit or advance payments, it may be possible for you to give up the accommodation contract, but you may still lose the deposit.

We have signed a joint contract but one of our housemates has moved out. The landlord/agent is asking us for the money but we feel the tenant should pay - is this fair?

Fairness does not really come into it, The landlord's/agent's primary concern is to collect the rent. If a joint contract has been signed, the landlord/agent can decide who they want to chase for the rent. If the rent remains unpaid, it can be taken from the collective deposits or if court action is taken, the landlord/agent is likely to issue a summons that names all the tenants. The best option is to try and find a suitable replacement as soon as possible.

I have moved out of a shared house but my former housemates are refusing to accept my replacement tenant. What can I do?

If the contract is joint and several, the remaining household have the right to refuse a replacement tenant. However, they can only refuse on reasonable grounds such as the replacement tenant not being a student (liability for Council Tax). If they continue to refuse suitable replacements, it is important to notify the landlord/agent. They may decide to take action against the tenants if rent remains outstanding.

If you have an individual contract, you do not need to get the permission of others in the house. However, the landlord/agent does need to agree. It is rare that the landlord/agent refuses a replacement tenant and they would have to give good reasons for doing so.

Contact us

If you have any questions, get in touch with us

If you are an Undergraduate and are thinking of applying and want to find out more, please contact admissions@leicester.ac.uk

If you are a Postgraduate and are thinking of applying and want to find out more, please contact pgadmissions@leicester.ac.uk

If you are an existing student and have any questions, please contact studentservices@le.ac.uk

If you have an enquiry regarding our accommodation, please contact accommodation@leicester.ac.uk

For independent, confidential advice on course related queries, private accommodation or personal problems please contact advice@le.ac.uk