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New tenancy rules may be threat to student lettings - claim

There’s concern in the student lettings sector about the impact of the government’s Fairer Private Rental Sector White Paper.

For this specialist lettings area, the most controversial proposal is the abolition of fixed term tenancies and the wholesale move to periodic agreements.  

That’s the view of Sulets, a not-for-profit, charitable trust providing accommodation for students in Leicester with almost 2,500 beds. 

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The government is planning on moving all new and existing tenancies to periodic agreements where the tenant will be able to give two months’ notice to quit.  

No corresponding right will exist for the landlord and they will have to rely on the current mandatory grounds albeit, there is a plan to beef some of these possession grounds up, particularly with regards to rent arrears.

Sulets says this is significant because the student market is very different to the regular but to let market and works on the basis of fixed term tenancies where there is a defined start and stop date, which is directly linked to University terms.  

If tenants are able to give two months’ notice, the likelihood of most landlords being able to rent to students for anything even approaching a calendar year will be fairly low.  

If the student tenant should give notice, the chance of renting to another student becomes increasingly difficult as the academic term wears on and particular so over the summer.  

Sulets warns: “Importantly, there will be no guarantee that the property will be available to rent at the start of the normal termly cycle in September which will make any type of planning extremely difficult for student landlords and agents.”

It continues: “Whilst we should welcome improvements to housing standards, the likely impact of an end to fixed term tenancies in the student market will be devasting and lead to a major contraction of student private rental sector homes to rent.  

“Interestingly, Purpose Built Student Accommodation has been specifically exempted from these provisions in the White Paper.  

“This will restrict choice and will mean increased costs for students due to the significant price differential between PBSA and the student PRS.”

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    Loosing the ability to have annual, eleven or twelve month contracts for students is catastrophic. The student market relies on a fixed term tenancy fully guaranteed. How could a new tenancy be agreed for the incoming students without the certainty of the current tenancy coming to an end. Has this even been considered by the government? No discussion seems to be taking place about this horrendous plan. What do other student orientated agencies think? Or indeed for professional tenancies, sharers. This would take all certainty out of the PRS, this will lead to a loss in available properties and Be utterly counter productive.

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    Purpose Built Student Accommodation is specifically exempted? Well that signals a two finger gesture to individual landlords by the Government.

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