Rental reforms will ruin student prospects, warn landlords

NRLA warns that the Government’s planned reforms of tenancy law for the PRS will damage access to higher education.

rental reforms student accommodation

In a letter to ministers, groups representing universities and student accommodation providers have warned that rental reforms outlined in the Government’s White Paper will make it more difficult for students to enter higher education.

The National Residential Landlords Association and other organisations, including Universities UK and the British Property Federation, say that without certainty about the availability of housing, “there is likely to be a significant reduction in available accommodation at a time when demand is growing.”

It is currently proposed that all student housing, with the exception of purpose-built blocks, would be subject to open-ended tenancies. This means landlords will be 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.

As a result, students looking for housing will be unable to plan in advance where they want to live and with whom.

Student limits

The letter, which can be read in full here, says: “a shortage of this accommodation has already led some academic institutions to call for a limit to be placed on student intakes for as long as the next five years.” It also warns: “The proposed introduction of open-ended tenancies and inevitable reduction in housing supply is therefore likely to further constrain the expansion of the education sector, to the detriment of prospective students and wider society.”

Signatories to the letter are the National Residential Landlords’ Association, Universities UK, the British Property Federation, the University of Cambridge, the University of Leeds, the University of Southampton, Lancaster University, Manchester Student Homes, Unipol, College and University Business Officers, We are Kin and the Young Group.

They are calling on the Government to extend the exemption from open-ended tenancies granted to Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) to all student housing. They argue that where a landlord rents their property to a group of students a fixed term tenancy agreement should be permissible.

The groups go on to call for measures to allow student landlords to give two months’ notice to repossess a property when it is needed for incoming students.

In order to provide protections for incoming students, they propose that such notice should only be given during the final two months of a tenancy agreement.


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