Changes to the student rental market under the Renters (Reform) Bill could result in even less protection for students, according to York‘s Residential Landlord Association.
It believes moving from fixed-term tenancies to periodic tenancies might prompt landlords to offer licences by providing services to students alongside their occupancy, such as in-room cleaning, in a similar way to the Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) sector.
Others will claim, incorrectly or falsely, to enter into licences, says the landlord group. In either case, students will be deprived of not just the protections provided by the Bill, but also the current protections, such as notice periods in the event of rent arrears, and security deposit protection.
“Without a simple solution, we are concerned that landlords would be forced to move to a fixed-term room licence model similar to PBSA just to make sure the market operates as it is now,” chair Andy Simpson (right) tells LandlordZONE.
Property lawyer David Smith helped York RLA conduct an impact assessment which found that the loss of fixed-term tenancies would effectively destroy the current arrangement between students and PRS landlords, who would have no certainty that students were going to leave on any specific date unless they had given two months’ notice.
Those in the PBSA sector who have signed up to the Unipol Code of Practice will be able to exempt themselves from the Bill and grant fixed-term tenancies. The group argues that landlords in the PRS could sign up for a similar code.
York RLA explains that there are already massive shortages in the city; the PBSA only houses 30-35% of students, with the PRS housing more than 50%. It adds: “York can ill afford to lose any landlords from the student accommodation sector and every one that leaves will lead to five or more students either being unable to take up a university place due to a lack of accommodation or being forced to live some distance away.”