Gove U-turns on student periodic lets after just seven days!

Steve Lumley·26 May 2023·4 min read
Gove U-turns on student periodic lets after just seven days!

Student landlords might be relieved to hear that the Government is looking to make an amendment to its Renters' Reform Bill that would see student lets not becoming periodic tenancies after all.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the Levelling-up Secretary Michael Gove is apparently looking at making student lets in the private rented sector (PRS), the same as those for purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA).

That means that the current proposal in the Renters' Reform Bill, which had its first reading last week, will not now see fixed term tenancies being replaced by periodic tenancies for student accommodation.

The rule change would make it easier for student landlords to let out their properties on a yearly basis to students since the new Bill would threaten to disrupt their annual business models.

'Ramifications that changing fixed-term tenancies to periodic'

Propertymark's head of policy and campaigns, Timothy Douglas, said: "The UK government must understand the ramifications that changing fixed-term tenancies to periodic will have within the student let market.

"Our member agents continue to express concerns, stating that without the seasonal predictability provided through fixed-term tenancies, the market will be unable to continue to provide a consistent supply of homes at the points of the year where it is needed most and risks reducing housing options for students."

He added: "We will be continuing to scrutinise the reforms and will look to work with the government to create practical and sustainable solutions moving forward."

Caused uproar among investors in the student let market

The controversial changes detailed in the Renters' Reform Bill have caused uproar among investors in the student let market, with experts warning of dire consequences.

Under the proposed legislation, students could be left languishing in private rented accommodation for months after they should have left – even after graduating.

That means less availability for incoming students, who may struggle to find suitable digs before term starts.

And that means landlords are also facing the prospect of empty student properties come the start of the academic year - and months without rental income.

According to the College and University Business Officers association, more than two-fifths of universities and colleges were facing shortages in accommodation at the start of the academic year.

'Majority of students move out at the end of the academic year' A spokesman for the government told the newspaper: "The vast majority of students move out at the end of the academic year and will not be impacted by these reforms.

"However, we continue to engage with students and landlords on these measures to ensure they are working for both parties."

The move to consider an amendment has been welcomed by Simon Thompson, the managing director of Accommodation for Students, who says the student sector shouldn't have been ignored.

He said: "Lots of organisations have been flagging up the discrepancy of allowing PBSA providers to offer fixed term tenancies but not student landlords in the PRS.

"We will have to see whether an amendment is made but to have this discussion just a week after the Bill's publication doesn't fill me with confidence."