Abolishing fixed-term tenancies will devastate the student market and lead to a major contraction of student homes to rent, warns a leading accommodation provider.
The government’s Fairer Renting White Paper includes plans to move all new and existing tenancies to periodic agreements where tenants will be able to give two months’ notice to quit, while landlords will have to rely on the current mandatory grounds.
Leicester-based Sulets – a not-for-profit, charitable trust – says the student market works on the basis of fixed-term tenancies where there is a defined start and stop date directly linked to university terms.
If tenants gave two months’ notice, the likelihood of most landlords being able to rent to students for anything even approaching a calendar year would be fairly low, explains CEO Irving Hill (pictured).
He says: “If the student tenant should give notice, the chance of renting to another student becomes increasingly difficult as the academic term wears on and particularly so over the summer.
“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.”
Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) has been specifically exempted from these provisions in the White Paper, adds Hill, leading to a disparity. “This will restrict choice and will mean increased costs for students due to the significant price differential between PBSA and the student PRS.”
Some landlord leaders have already warned that the entire student let model could fall apart if a loophole isn’t put into the legislation to maintain fixed-term contracts.