Scenario: A student signed a contract with a Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) in London, with the term starting Dec 2020. The student was not able to obtain the tier 4 visa on time. The student noticed the PBSA that she cannot arrive on Dec 2020 and must cancel a part of the accommodation. The student asked for a partial refund, excluding an one-month. The PBSA refused to negotiate.
Question: Are there any legal cases in which the court awarded the student a partial refund for not able to come to UK due to compulsory reasons such as COVID or Visa problems?
My try: I tried to contact a few students and have done some research online (such as the parliament's research briefing, the interpretation of the law by CMA, and the parliament's resources for students in this case), so I think I have some background knowledge. To my knowledge, there seem to be no ruled legal cases related to these issues. However, some students (hereafter student B) did receive partial refunds by negotiating with the PBSA (in 2021), possibly due to that the PBSA is bound to the National Codes for PBSA. The National Codes put an emphasize on COVID-related issues in 2020 but not in 2021.
Any related information will be deeply appreciated.
Updates regarding the frustrated contract, according to Citizens Advice:
If you’re paying rent to stay in university-owned halls of residence but it’s impossible for you to travel there because of a local lockdown, you might be able to argue that your rental agreement has been “frustrated”.
This is a legal term that means that, due to special circumstances out of anybody’s control (such as a global pandemic), the rental contract cannot be ‘performed’, as you can’t actually use something that you’ve paid for.
Citizens Advice has said that you might also be able to use the ‘frustration’ argument if the purpose of the accommodation is ‘radically altered’.
For example, if your accommodation was closely tied to you attending a course in a particular location but the course is now being delivered completely online, you might be able to make the argument that your rental agreement has been ‘frustrated.
The charity says, however, that this has not been tested in court so there is not much way of knowing how successful this argument would be.