Bailiffs evict students in rent row with University of Manchester

Report by Granada Reports correspondent Tim Scott.

Bailiffs have moved in to evict a number of students at the University of Manchester in an ongoing row over rent and living conditions.

Students have withheld their rent in protest, saying their accommodation is not fit to live in with mould and mice.

The Rent Strike group claim that in January over 350 students at the university announced that they were withholding rent, which they say amounted to £500,000, in protest at bosses increasing the 'already sky-high rent by up to £450 for the 2022 academic year'.

They have occupied Simon Building on Oxford Road since February 2023. Prior to that, they had refused to leave other key buildings on the campus.

They want a 30% reduction and a refund of same rents already paid.

As bailiffs lifted students by arms and legs and carried them from the building, fellow protestors sang chants in support.

The University has issued a statement, saying: "This morning officers of the High Court attended the Simon Building to enforce a court order, on a small group of students who had been illegally occupying rooms there since 13 February 2023.  

"This action follows multiple requests to those occupying the building to leave, and court hearing papers being served on the occupiers on 15 March 2023. 

"The Court granted the University a possession order on Monday, and copies of the order were served to the occupiers. 

"We very much regret having to do this, but the situation has been going on for a significant amount of time and has caused ongoing disruption to students and the people who work in the building."

Students have staged 'sit-ins' at buildings on the campus since February Credit: MEN

It is not the first time the University has been in conflict with its students - there were demonstrations in the Covid lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 when barriers were put up around halls of residence.

Students were given refunds after protests because their teaching and university experience had been so curtailed by the Covid measures.

Those 30% rebates are believed to have amounted to a total of around four million pounds.

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