The KU Leuven has announced that it will reduce the rent of student rooms in residences managed by the university by 50% for April, in light of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.
As universities have decided to only give online classes until the end of the school year, and the government has extended its lockdown measures for at least two more weeks, many students usually living in a student room have returned home for the rest of the semester, leaving their rooms empty.
"The measures imposed to combat the corona epidemic do not constitute a force majeure that can terminate the lease," said Rector Luc Sels in a statement on KU Leuven's website. "The contracts remain valid, even if you are staying at home for as long as the government demands it," he added.
However, as the crisis is "an unforeseen and exceptional situation," the university, as the owner and manager of several residences "wants to send a strong message of solidarity," it said.
#kuleuven verlaagt in april de huurprijs van studentenkamers met 50 procent. Zo willen we we de financiële druk op studenten en gezinnen in deze moeilijke tijden deels verlichten. https://t.co/Uhj4qDWEKx— KU Leuven (@KU_Leuven) March 30, 2020
Translation: "In April, KU Leuven will reduce the rent of student rooms by 50%. In this way, we want to relieve some of the financial pressure on students and families in these difficult times."
All students renting a room in the residences that are managed by the KU Leuven will be granted a rent reduction of 50% for the next rental month. Based on the progression of the pandemic and the government's measures, possible further reductions will be assessed on a monthly basis.
In addition, the university calls on families who are entitled to the reduction but do not need it as much to fully or partly donate the saved 50% to the University's Social Service, which will use if for students in need. The money can also be contributed to the current Covid-19 research at KU Leuven and UZ Leuven.
KU Leuven also calls on private landlords to show solidarity in a way that is sustainable for them, and to apply a discount on the rental price of their student rooms as well.
The Brussels Times