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Rent Strike banner. Photo: Alisdare Hickson / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0, license linked at bottom of article

Students in Sheffield are taking direct action against appalling living conditions, reports Mike McCarthy 

Students from both Sheffield’s Universities are taking direct action in response to a year of study disruption and financial struggles to pay for accommodation they were not allowed to use. Both the University of Sheffield and Hallam University have occupied buildings as part of the rent strike protest. 103 Students from UOS have been on rent strike from Christmas. Their demands include a 30 percent rent rebate for all students and an early release clause option for accommodation contracts. 

They say many people have been made to live in ‘squalid’ conditions, despite paying up to £170 a week in rent. Some students at Hallam have reported leaking sewage, rat and mice infestations and being left without hot water or working toilets, they say, while those at the University of Sheffield are unhappy at having had to pay £30 for ‘inadequate’ food parcels.

A spokesperson for the University of Sheffield protesters said the university had ‘consistently shown scant regard for the welfare of students. "The pandemic has brought into focus what many already knew - that profit takes precedence over student welfare when it comes to housing and education,” they added.

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