‘We are paying for apartments we can’t use’

| Michaela Nesvarova

Because of the corona crisis, many international students are not able to live in their apartments. ‘Yet we are not allowed to terminate our contracts,’ says Anny, UT student from Colombia. She is putting together a group of students who rent from Xior and Camelot, in order to get the UT to help mediate with the companies.

Anny rents an apartment in Enschede from student housing center Xior. She has a year contract officially valid until the end of July, but she hasn’t been using the apartment since March. ‘I moved away to be with my sister in Switzerland. I spent the first week of the lockdown in the apartment, but it is only 17 m2. It is too small to spend 24 hours a day there. I got very anxious and depressed.’

The UT student asked Xior if she could terminate the contract early, but according to the company it was not possible. ‘I know other people have asked them the same question recently, but the answer was the same: there is nothing we can do for you at the moment,’ she says.

She decided to reach out to people in the same situation through Facebook. ‘So far we are with about fifteen people, all international students who want to terminate their rental contracts. Some people, for example from the US, were forced to leave. They didn’t have a choice, but they have to keep paying for apartments they can’t use. I hope that if we all come together, it will have a bigger impact than several individual cases.’

On behalf of the group, Anny would like to ask the University of Twente for help with mediation. ‘I think all of us are renting through Xior or Camelot because the UT recommended it,’ she says. ‘In my mind, there is a partnership between the university and these companies, so hopefully they could help us make a deal. I have heard that students at Erasmus University in Rotterdam were able to cancel their contracts early thanks to their organisation and the help of the university. We hope to be given the same opportunity.’

Reaction from the UT

U-Today has contacted Xior several times, but didn’t receive any reply. On behalf of the University of Twente, spokesperson Laurens van der Velde reacted to the issue:

‘Immediately after the intelligent lockdown was announced, we have been in contact with all major organisations providing student housing in Enschede. We also discussed the possible issue of students having the desire to terminate their contract before the initial expiration date. We have asked them to be thinking and working along cooperatively, given the exceptionality of the situation.

If there is any situation not in line with laws and regulations, we would like to know about it. We find it important that student housing for our students is arranged sensibly and responsibly. In any case, there should be close consultation between the organizations and their tenants to come to a satisfying conclusion for both.’


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