The government has revealed a further £50 million to help students who are struggling financially during the Covid pandemic, in addition to £20 million announced in December.

This extra funding will flow through universities and will include funds to help students pay their private accommodation rent and Covid-related costs including accessing teaching online.

This announcement follows the decision by many universities and accommodation providers to offer rent rebates for students who need stay away from their term-time address.

The Universities Minister Michelle Donelan (pictured, above) is also encouraging private landlords to join them and offer students partial refunds.

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“This additional support will provide real, tangible help for those students struggling financially as a result of the pandemic,” she says.

“We will continue to prioritise a full return to education as soon possible, in line with public health advice.”

The government is also asking all providers of student accommodation including universities to ensure their rental policies have students’ best interests at heart and are communicated clearly.

furlough

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA, (pictured) says: “Whilst we welcome the news of further financial support, it begs the question why student renters are being treated differently to all others.

“Given students are continuing to receive maintenance loans alongside this new funding, Ministers need to explain why the same support is not being provided to other renters struggling as a result of the pandemic.

The NRLA’s figures suggest that seven per cent of private renters have built arrears due to coronavirus, while the government has admitted that private renters have been hardest hit by the pandemic. 

23 COMMENTS

  1. So students are given a hardship fund and a maintenance loan but LLs are expected to take the hit! We all know it’s not been much fun being a student this year but why are they subject to extra special financial support when most of them are giving at home on their parents’ $?

  2. So as a student landlord then I am expected to let my students off their rent……………..I am sure that when I walk in to my bank tomorrow and ask them to let me of my mortgage they will also be sympathetic to my request!! More likely to repossess me when I don’t pay the loans.

    Can the government explain to me how I avoid be repossessed for not being able to pay my mortgage

    • Couldn’t agree more Dave. I’m a student landlord too and I’m massively out of pocket from the last 12 months due to a reduced number of student renters & some overseas students returning home with months of rent unpaid! As all my income comes from property there is zero help from the government and I’ve had to sell a property to get through. How on earth do I now look at subsidising students who (in most cases) are financially unaffected due to still receiving their loans and are now getting support from the government on top?!

  3. No surprise , we’ve lost £20000 in rental income we’ve helped and all the rent holidays which tenants can’t pay back and then proceeded to pay rentals as they could afford , usually less than 50% of rental contract . The best help we get is a loan which I’m sure won’t be written off by the bank . Bounce back loan ? Or titanic iceberg loan . To be fair we have other tenants who’ve struggled through and we’ve helped and they’ve managed to keep up to date . Still that’s our annual pension gone for the year !

  4. How can some landlords justify the rent levels charged to students? My son is at Uni and seven of them are renting a Victorian house chopped up into seven compromised beds. The rent is £155 per person per week for an 11 month contract. That’s rent of £52k a year on a house that is worth about £350k. The students have no choice as the landlords control the supply and rent levels. The pay utilities on top and the furnishing is basic and poor.

    • Ultimately Greg it’s supply and demand – the more the government smash landlords with additional tax and regulations, the more sell up and get out, therefore the remaining landlords are able to charge more.

      I’ve increased the rents on my properties (all two bedroom houses, very popular right now as no one wants a 12 bed place when someone gets a new persistent cough! The student ones go at £85 – £90 PPPW excluding bills, so nowhere near the price bracket your son is in) and they’ve let instantly, in November I received 24 requests to view a house on the day it went live on OpenRent/Rightmove, and can only conclude there’s a severe lack of supply.

      This is a business and professional landlords are in it to make money. If there were more landlords we’d remain competitive by dropping our prices/improving quality.

    • some cities are very expensive to live in. If there is a shortage of rental accomadation then due to supply & demand property prices will rise & so will rents. Landlords only have control over their own properties, not the whole market.
      Due to rapidly increasing population in the UK, shortage of new properties being built, tighter regulations for landlords, the rental property supply will decrease per capita over the next few years & so will choice for tenants & prices may rise accordingly.
      If a tenent thinks rents are too high then they have the option of not agreeing to live in that accomadation. Once an agrrement is made & a contract signed then as in all business situations it’s too late to start complaining about what was agreed to.
      I don’t know about your son’s specific property but the cost of accomadation needs to be taken into account when choosing universities or indeed deciding whether to go or not.- I myself didn’t go to university for this very reason. I lookked at the costs & so chose not to go. I decided on Open University instead. You pays your money & makes your choice as they say. That is how it works for eveything in life….clothes , food, cell phones, tv subscriptions, pensions, cars etc etc.

  5. Even worse with commercial tenants – there is no help at all for landlords.
    Whilst we’re happy to help those (ca. 10%) of our residential tenants with rent holidays / reductions etc.,
    I really struggle to see why our commercial tenants (all nationwide operating retailers) can just stop paying rent…we have lost in excess of £150.000 income in 2020 alone and whilst our tenants have access to furlough scheme / rates relief / grants / etc. – there is nothing for landlords

    • Landlords dont get it ! You are right at the bottom of the food chain, so highly likely to get bitten – chunk at a time – bit by bit – until you become desperate scavangers – living off the good will of your tenants – as the law will be twisted to provide more power to the tenants. Landlords will be taking on the financial and emotional risk while the lenders/banks expect their payments and tenants can choose to pay or not and the legal system takes its time to hear your case – at the rate things are progressing, god forbid if the medical profession decides not to priortise Landlords for medical treatment in the future. Its becoming a Sin to be a Landlord….please sell up while you can before they strangle you with high taxes. Suggest people read Daylight Robbery – Dominic Frisby…available on audible…how taxation works – Landlords may be taxed out of existence…replaced by corporate housing providers…

      • Yep you are totally correct in your assertions.
        Only an idiot LL would believe Govt isn’t attempting to eradicate them.

        There are unfortunately many deluded LL that believe they can weather the storm.

        If they think things are bad now they are scheduled to become even worse.

        Losses that LL have suffered will take decades to recover.
        Those sole trader LL have the final insult with S24 taxes still being due.

        So no rental income but infinity tax still required.
        For all those LL who think they have escaped S24 taxes just watch as the Chancellor introduces higher corporation taxes.

        So a complete waste of time becoming corporate LL.

        Remaining a leveraged LL isn’t a wise business choice.

        Becoming a mortgage free LL is the only way to survive.

        That will require a massive sell off by leveraged LL.

        Without a lender to satisfy LL can more readily absorb losses of rental income.
        Still of course very annoying but no risk of repossession by lenders.

        50% of rental stock is mortgage free.

        To be totally resilient from feckless rent defaulters all leveraged stock needs to be made mortgage free.

        That must involve selling off considerable numbers of properties.

        The BTL proposition has been shown to be extremely vulnerable.
        Courts have already been changed so that they can at will suspend eviction processes if Govt requires it.

        Leveraged LL in particular must realise that they are no longer in control of things.
        Govt will seek to use LL capital to keep tenants housed during difficult times.
        There will be another pandemic virus along soon.

        Govt will again impose an eviction ban.

        All this means that for the leveraged LL it just isn’t worth being one anymore when Govt effectively can convert private LL to free Social Housing for as long as they like leaving the LL to somehow sustain all the costs of providing that rental accommodation without any rental income to pay for it.

        There really is no point.

        • I am a tenant and have to pay my Landlord every month – when a lockdown has been in place for over a month in England.

          Go to your bank all you landlords and ask for a 6 month mortgage holiday! I cannot get anything (I am self-employed and do not want yet another loan!).

          This Mortgage Holiday is NOT available to me as I am a 65 year old tenant – struggling to decide whether to pay rent or get electric and food! So far the Landlord wins as I have paid my rent out of savings!

          • Unfortunately a mtg holiday affects a LLs credit reference and adds further interest to the loan. So taking a mtg holiday to benefit the tenant is not a good business move. There are other outgoings a landlord has to pay which are required by law.

            Landlords are not able to claim anything from the government so if a tenant doesn’t pay the rent the landlord has no income.

            Many landlords are supporting tenants who haven’t paid their rent by coming to an agreement perhaps by arranging for a repayment schedule. I’ve done this for one of my tenants and had to use my own savings to cover for the tenant’s lack of rent payment. So the tenant wins as I’ve, effectively, paid the rent out of my savings!

            Perhaps you can come to an arrangement with your landlord to make arrears repayments in the future. An alternative might be to move to a cheaper property.

            I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling. It’s a very difficult time for some self employed people as well as landlords.

  6. What good is millions of £’s given to students? Nothing in this for the landlords. As a private landlord including student accommodation, we have already suffered from the tenants receiving Universal Credit and not passing it on to the landlords, and they are using this UC money to fund their luxury life driving luxury cars and owning top branded mobiles at the expense of suffering landlords. From student lets we have not received a penny rental to date since the March 20 lockdown as there have been no students, especially the overseas ones. And not sure how long this dire situation is going to last. I am glad that we sold 3 of our properties and now have an EXIT strategy from the Private Landlords market. Best of luck to the UK government and the councils in dealing with British streets littered with homeless people, both young and old – and we call UK a developed nation. Far from this – UK is now worse than the 3rd world countries.

    • Interesting that you are doing exactly what I have suggested needs to be done.

      Clearly with your experience you have taken a pragmatic business decision to leave a dysfunctional industry no longer worth remaining in.
      I hope to follow you soon out of the AST PRS.

      Lodgers will hopefully be generating my income.

      Govt is very successfully slowly eradicating private LL.

      The big problem is their corporate buddies haven’t built sufficient replacement rental accommodation and won’t for decades if ever

      So with LL selling up who will house all the evicted tenants!!??

  7. What good is millions of £’s given to students? Nothing in this for the landlords. As a private landlord including student accommodation, we have already suffered from the tenants receiving Universal Credit and not passing it on to the landlords, and they are using this UC money to fund their luxury life style driving luxury cars and owning top branded mobiles at the expense of suffering landlords. From student lets we have not received a penny rental to date since the March 20 lockdown as there have been no students, especially the overseas ones. And not sure how long this dire situation is going to last. I am glad that we sold 3 of our properties and now have an EXIT strategy from the Private Landlords sector. Best of luck to the UK government and the councils in dealing with British streets littered with homeless people, both young and old – and we call UK a developed nation. Far from this – UK is now worse than the 3rd world countries.

  8. Greg
    Don’t know where your son is a student but those rent levels and property value doesn’t tally.
    The property is a HMO so it must meet certain standards so compromised rooms is questionable.
    And Landlords don’t determine the supply, the market does (which is being crucified by the Government) and no one forced your son to take the property.

  9. Perhaps student LL will now realise the game isn’t worth it.

    Stuff students they clearly aren’t interested in complying with their contractual obligations.

    So why bother offering student accommodation!?

  10. More absurdity from this government.

    I’ve got two businesses previously successful prior to COVID that have been wiped out because of COVID and I’ve not received a penny from the government. Although the government still wanted their tax in December and January.

    My small property business 2 properties including 1 HMO are operating at below break even because 3 students dropped out in September because of COVID I was accommodating and flexible to help out.

    I’ve already used all my savings and had to borrow £25k just to keep my head above water. Those students that haven’t made it back to Uni are living rent free back with their parents.

    This just smells of Boris trying to buy the youth vote at the next election.

    What does good lessons does this teach our children?

    • Your response to the dilemma you have been faced with is exactly the response that Govt was hoping would occur.

      This reaction to use all your resources to keep your properties going has whether you accept it or not effectively been Govt socialising your assets to provide free accommodation for the feckless.

      All your investment efforts over past years has effectively been stolen.

      What you should have done is allowed lenders to repossess.

      But of course Govt knew full well that LL would do everything they could to avoid such a situation.

      When you consider how devastated your finances have been you must question future viability of what and the way you are doing things.

      Unfortunately leveraged LL are hostages to fortune
      Govt knows all this which is why it knew the eviction ban wouldn’t result in LL not paying mortgages.
      Deferring mortgage payments have assisted LL but they are still losses.

      Govt knows that most LL wilm do whatever it takes to avoid repossession by lenders.

      However after the eviction ban many LL will be nursing considerable losses and will surely question the viability of the BTL business model.

  11. An interesting thread, since I am both a landlord of three properties and an online full-time mature university student. I am just glad that our properties don’t have student tenants, although at least one of our tenants is affected by Covid-19 restrictions and likely to leave (I think he will give notice, pay and leave the place ok – not sure where the next good tenant comes from). And I am lucky, working from home.
    Students are having a difficult time with uncertainty over their course and jobs, some poor quality online teaching (who knows what the face-to-face would have been like?) and isolation, but they don’t appear to be suffering financially.
    This £20m is a knee-jerk political decision – deadweight to win a few young votes.
    Btw, I agree with Greg, there are some rip-off landlords offering student accommodation, but that happens across the board – just read the stories on this site. However, most landlords want to offer good accommodation at a fair price under contracts which both tenant and landlord are held to.

  12. Greg: That’s got to be one of the highest student rents around. I’ve seen rooms advertised in Manchester for as little as £50 pw all in. Halls in Preston are £110 pw all in.

    If the rooms in your son’s place are compromised you must tell the local council. The property should be licensed so ask the landlord to show you the licence. House of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) must reach a certain standard eg number of toilets to tenants, hardwired fire alarms, fire doors etc.

  13. Again, I am both a landlord and a parent with a daughter at uni. Due to Covid she has had to study at home during most of the last 12 months whilst having a loan (with high interest rates) to pay rent at a property she can’t live in. Unlike most professional tenants, she can’t give a month’s notice as had to sign up to a year’s contract before Covid and is committed to the end of June with little likelihood of being able to live there. The landlord hasn’t offered any rent reduction despite the rent covering all the bills which again would be lower than if there was anyone living there. Even I have been fair enough to offer my professional tenants help and a reduced rent in these unusual times. Sadly, university life has not been what she signed up for!

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