Michael Gove backtracks on student let reforms

Michael Gove backtracks on student let reforms

9:37 AM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago 15

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In what appears to be a sudden U-turn, housing secretary Michael Gove is apparently backtracking on his Renters’ Reform Bill, just a week after unveiling it, the Daily Telegraph reports.

It says that the government is now reconsidering whether it should end assured shorthold tenancies for student lets to become periodic tenancies.

The move follows strong criticism from landlords and letting agents.

‘Absolutely essential to avoid decimating the student sector’

On Twitter, the chief executive of the National Residential Landlords’ Association, Ben Beadle, said: “Good. This is absolutely essential to avoid decimating the student sector and is a point we have been campaigning hard for.

“Govt has already exempted PBSA from the new regime and must give parity to PRS student homes.”

Timothy Douglas, the head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, said: “The UK government must understand the ramifications that changing fixed-term tenancies to periodic will have within the student let market.

“Our member agents continue to express concerns, stating that without the seasonal predictability provided through fixed-term tenancies, the market will be unable to continue to provide a consistent supply of homes at the points of the year where it is needed most and risks reducing housing options for students.”

Periodic tenancies would be introduced across the private rental sector

Under the proposed Renters’ Reform Bill, fixed-term tenancies would be outlawed, and rolling contracts – periodic tenancies – would be introduced across the private rental sector.

But the proposal threatens to disrupt the annual business model of landlords who rent properties to students.

Concerns were raised that the changes could lead to fewer properties being available, leaving many students scrambling for accommodation at the last minute.

The student let sector is already struggling, with shortages in supply and more than two-fifths of universities and colleges experiencing an overall shortage of accommodation at the beginning of the last academic year.

Exemption that will exist for purpose-built student accommodation

Student landlords and agents have been lobbying the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to offer the same exemption for their sector that will exist for purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA).

Now, the Telegraph says that Mr Gove is considering an amendment to the bill that would allow landlords to stick to their yearly let business model and guarantee vacant possession for the next cohort of students.

This would be added as a specific clause for privately let student property.

A government spokesman said: “The vast majority of students move out at the end of the academic year and will not be impacted by these reforms.

“However, we continue to engage with students and landlords on these measures to ensure they are working for both parties.”


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Comments

Ian Narbeth

10:05 AM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago

Mr Gove and his department have had a very long time to produce the Renters Reform Bill. That this issue was not thought through is astonishing. I am cynical about the motives and impartiality of the civil servants in his department. I suspect some of them just want to shaft landlords and the view was: "We are giving tenants maximum flexibility and we are hurting landlords' interests. Ergo, we are doing the right thing." And damn the consequences!
I predict the Tories will not pick up a single net vote from this dreadful Bill but, as young people see their rents rise, the demand for home-owning guarantors increase and the choice of accommodation shrink they will vote for anyone but the "Conservatives".
Tories lose, Landlords lose, Tenants lose. Hey Michael, that could be your slogan for the next Election or your Party's epitaph.

Judith Wordsworth

10:11 AM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago

They have still not cottoned on that should any student, in a student HMO, no longer be a student (ie deferred a year/left Uni and got a job but still wants to live there) then ALL in that HMO will be liable to Council Tax.
Not just the person who is no longer a Council Tax exempt student.

Mr.A

10:47 AM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago

We have had this open ended tenancy nonsense in Scotland since 2017 , but not applied to the pbsa, (thier pals in government will look after them )Students are desperate to find a place to stay ,but there's nothing , the less well off students are abandoned.
The SNP , Dont consult with landlords or anyone else , just force "laws " through with the despicable conniving green party hoard ...
Time to dissolve the experiment of Scottish devolution.
It has been a utter disaster for Scotland.

Grumpy Old Git

11:01 AM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 24/05/2023 - 10:05
Given that they often spend 18 months to 2 years shunting this sort of legislation around in Parliament, back and forth between Commons and Lords, committee stages etc., what's the betting in the run up to the next General Election that it 'runs out of Parliamentary time'?!!!

Monty Bodkin

11:03 AM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago

"I predict the Tories will not pick up a single net vote from this dreadful Bill"

Maybe they've already written off winning the next election and are just screwing it up for the next lot.
The consequences of this are obvious.

Seething Landlord

11:04 AM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago

It will be interesting to see what form of words they concoct to try and address the issue without simply adding more confusion and uncertainty.

Ben Beadle says that PBSA is already excluded, which is lifted from the explanatory notes and correct but the Bill goes further and excludes all tenancies where the landlord can currently use S8 ground 4 ie when the property is let by an educational institution as defined. It is not therefore confined to purpose built student accommodation but would include all accommodation let to or owned by the institution and let or sublet to students. Would some form of rent to rent agreement with the education provider meet the concerns of those who are currently private student landlords?

Jay Patel

11:13 AM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago

Hallelujah ! I won’t believe it until it’s actually made official ! The concept of ending fixed term tenancies is the equivalent of committing Harakiri for a landlord like myself. ... absolute nonsense, and as my friend is above her side and active looking after government chums, who are laughing all the way to the bank at our expense !

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Gove will do us proud, and of course, all landlords in general and not just the student one’s

🤞🏼

JB

11:13 AM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 24/05/2023 - 10:05
OMG - exactly how long have they had to think about this???? What the h*ll is wrong with them? They are a bunch of incompetant id*ots.

I wonder if they can spot all their other stupid mistakes?

Landlords lose. Tenants lose. Torries lose.

Patrick S

11:50 AM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago

Another example, as if needed, of total incompetence on part of the civil service.

SCP

16:11 PM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Patrick S at 24/05/2023 - 11:50
Oh, you are bullying me. I have suffered stress, depression, anxiety, PTSD, call it what you will.

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