Industry News Sam Hunter 21/12/2022

Rental reform plans risk causing chaos in student housing market

Students face chaos as government plans to reform the rental market threaten to cause widespread uncertainty as to whether housing will be available at start of each academic year.

Under the plans, included in the Government's Rental Reform White Paper, all student housing, with the exception of purpose-built blocks, will be subject to open-ended tenancies. 

This move means landlords are unable to guarantee that accommodation will be available for the start of each academic year, unless sitting tenants have handed in their notice to leave.

Students looking for housing will be unable to plan in advance where and with whom they want to live.

New data from the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) reveals that 84 per cent of landlords renting to students are concerned about the Government’s plans.

One landlord told the NRLA: “I let solely to students. The end of fixed term Assured Shorthold Tenancies will bring chaos. We will have no guarantee that existing tenants will leave and therefore won’t be able to let properties in advance.”

According to official data, over a half (53 per cent) of students in the UK in rental properties do not live in halls of residence or other university provided accommodation

With the Government having made clear that private purpose-built student accommodation will be exempt from plans to make every tenancy open ended, the NRLA has called for the same to be applied to all types of student housing at a roundtable meeting with the Housing Minister, organised at the request of the association this week.

Under the NRLA’s proposals, student landlords would be able to repossess a property with two months’ notice where it is required for new students each year. To provide protections, the earliest such notice could be served to sitting tenants would be in the last two months of a tenancy agreement, or at the 10th month of a 12-month fixed term.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “The student housing market works unlike any other, operating from one academic year to the next. It is common sense that landlords should have certainty that accommodation can be made available for new students each year, as has already been reflected for the Purpose-Built Student Accommodation sector

“Without changes the Government risk causing chaos, confusion and anxiety for students unable to plan where they live for the start of each academic year.”