The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) has dismissed concerns from HMO student landlords that its plans to bring in periodic tenancies will damage the sector.
Under the proposals, students will be able to give two months' notice at any time, making finding a replacement very difficult, according to the Northampton Student Landlords Network, which voiced its concerns to the government.
In its response, the DLUHC explains that while it expects most students to continue to move in line with the academic year, some might face circumstances beyond their control and will need to vacate a property early, or could be locked into contracts for poor quality housing.
A department spokesman says: 'Some students have families, local roots, live with non-students, or have other reasons why they may wish to remain in the property. We do not think it would be fair to apply different rules to students who often require the same level of security as other tenants, or face poor standards within the private rented sector. Therefore, all students who are renting a private home will have periodic tenancies, providing the same certainty as all other tenants will enjoy.'�
It adds that it is fair to exclude purpose-built student accommodation landlords who have joined government approved codes of practice from the new regime as these codes set, 'vigorous standards for the safety of student accommodation, the management of the property and the relationship between managers and student tenants'�.
The network's Jacqueline Abbott (pictured) believes the department's response makes for disappointing reading.
'It feels like it's a done deal with regards the government's stance on students and fixed-term contracts,'� she says, expressing the hope that it still might allow a tenant to agree to a fixed-term tenancy where it is mutually beneficial for both parties.