Student landlord fears over periodic tenancies dismissed

Student landlord fears over periodic tenancies dismissed

8:35 AM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago 23

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It looks like student landlords will have to move to periodic tenancies for their rental properties – according to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC).

While the Renters Reform Bill has still to make its way through Parliament, the DLUHC is responding to landlord fears with a letter that states:

‘While we expect most students will continue to move in line with the academic year, they may equally face circumstances beyond their control and need to vacate a property early, or be locked into contracts for poor quality housing. Responses to our consultation also showed that the student population is diverse – some students have families, local roots, live with non-students, or have other reasons why they may wish to remain in the property.’

Would not be fair to apply different rules to students

It goes on: ‘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.’

The letter being sent out by DLUHC is published below.

It was sent to a landlords’ association and the worry for student landlords is that students can give just two months’ notice to leave their property – leaving them with a struggle to find a replacement tenant.

‘Lack of government support for student landlords’

Chris Norris, the director of policy at the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), said: “The lack of government support for student landlords is extremely worrying.

“Making student tenancies periodic will only cause problems for all parties involved, and ultimately may result in landlords leaving the sector.

“In the experience of many, one year tenancy agreements are perfect for students as their living situations tend to change year on year.”

‘Create a sense of uncertainty for student tenants’

He added: “By making these periodic, the government will only create a sense of uncertainty for student tenants.

“The government’s proposed changes in this area do nothing to address the major problem affecting the private rented sector: the supply and demand crisis.

“Without pro-growth policies designed to increase the availability of privately rented homes, the shortage of decent accommodation for all tenants – student and non-student alike – will worsen.”

The DLUHC letter that is being sent out:

The Renters Reform Bill will fulfil our manifesto commitment to deliver a better deal for renters by abolishing Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions. We will move to a single system of periodic tenancies in future, allowing renters to end the tenancy when necessary, and landlords to regain possession in reasonable circumstances defined in law. Our reforms will mean tenants enjoy greater security and feel empowered to challenge poor practice and unreasonable rent rises. 

We recognise that landlords need confidence that they can regain possession of their properties when necessary. We will reform the possession grounds for landlords, introducing new and stronger grounds for repeated incidences of rent arrears, and allowing landlords to end tenancies to sell or move into their properties. We will reduce the notice periods for anti-social behaviour, and explore prioritisation in the courts with the Judiciary, ensuring landlords can take swift action when needed.

While we expect most students will continue to move in line with the academic year, they may equally face circumstances beyond their control and need to vacate a property early, or be locked into contracts for poor quality housing. Responses to our consultation also showed that the student population is diverse – 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. 

We will allow time for a smooth transition to the new system, providing time for the market to adjust, while making sure that tenants can benefit from the new system as soon as possible. We will implement the new system in two stages, providing at least six months’ notice of our first implementation date, after which all new tenancies will be periodic and governed by the new rules. All existing tenancies will transition to the new system on a second implementation date and we will allow at least twelve months between the first and second dates.



Comments

Jw Bryan

10:14 AM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

As I understand things, in France the minimum rental period is three years but for students it's one year. Different rules for students works there why not here? Has the Department published their research or an impact assessment?

Darren Peters

10:21 AM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Interesting comment in the Facebook HMO group - apparently this won't apply to purpose built student accommodation

https://www.facebook.com/groups/371572042862286/?multi_permalinks=5796434400375996&ref=share

The agenda seems clear, drive out the little guy to create a nice cartel for the government's mates. Most fascinating of all, renters are pushing for this based on information from certain charities and the media.

Ian Narbeth View Profile

10:50 AM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

The DLUHC letter is incoherent. "Responses to our consultation also showed that the student population is diverse – some students have families, local roots, live with non-students, or have other reasons why they may wish to remain in the property. May be true but that also applies to students in university owned accommodation. Exceptions could be made for cases where all the tenants are students at the start of the tenancy.
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. But of course they do apply different rules - see my first point. or face poor standards within the private rented sector. It's not about poor standards. It is about tenure and being able to assure the next cohort of students that they will be able to move in at the start of the term. All students who are renting a private home will have periodic tenancies, providing the same certainty as all other tenants will enjoy. But students in university-owned accommodation will not enjoy that certainty. Anyway, talk of "certainty" is misleading. A student taking accommodation for an academic year does not need certainty that they can stay on indefinitely. For the system to work fairly, in fact, they need the certainty that they cannot stay on. That means they will make arrangements in advance to find alternative accommodation. Under the new rules the landlord will not know until he receives the notice whether he can let the property to the students he has lined up for the next academic year and those students will not know either.

Dylan Morris

11:23 AM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

It’s a complete dogs dinner and I can see landlords who specialise in students having to move to single family lets or sell up. It simply cannot work for them, we have a Government full of institutionalised MP’s and civil servants devoid of any common sense and totally disconnected from the real world. The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

a.murray18@ntlworld.com

11:31 AM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 01/09/2022 - 10:50
Very well said Ian. If this statement is from Greg Clark the minister then it shows he has no idea what impact this will make and talk about contradicting himself. It will fail and he will move to another job .

Rod

11:56 AM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

As a result of iHowz's lobbying of MPS, DLUHC and the Tory leadership candidates, iHowz will be meeting civil servants at the end of September to raise our concerns and highlight potential unintended consequences of some of the proposals. We have asked that representatives from MoJ and BEIS attend, given the promises on court reforms and long awaited MEES standards.
We would like to than those who took time to write to their MPs with our own White Paper and proposals to amend S21

You can see our campaign, including the iHowz submission in response to the call for evidence on the White Paper.
https://ihowz.uk/category/campaigns/

We have seen letters from the purpose built student accommodation providers which question why fixed term tenancies will not be available to PRS student landlords. The BPF also have similar concerns.

Until the release of the White Paper, there had never been any mention of the need to do away with fixed term tenancy agreements, or automatic periodic tenancies.

The Government's proposal to abandon a tenancy format, which has worked well for 35 years, is short-sighted and ignores issues such as council tax liability and Article 4 planning restrictions.

If the proposal for periodic tenancies is simply to allow tenants to terminate a tenancy where serious undeclared defects are found at the start of the tenancy, this heavy-handed approach could be achieved more simply by tweaks to consumer rights. Tenants could be granted a period of (say) one month to raise their concerns with the ombudsman / EHO, who would give landlords (say) a month to resolve or the tenants would have the right to terminate the contract.

Gromit

16:17 PM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Dylan Morris at 01/09/2022 - 11:23They know exactly what they are doing. I.e. they are following the bidding of big corporations who own the PBSAs (and coincidentally also happen to be big donors to the Tory Party).

Bristol Landlord

18:41 PM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Gromit at 01/09/2022 - 16:17
Agreed, when have you ever known the Govt to do favours for ordinary citizens when they could instead help their corporate donors instead?
Since 2015 the Govt War on Landlords has been about tipping the PRS playing field in favour of the corporate landlords by driving out as many Independent Landlords as possible. The tenants now suffer from very reduced choice in rental properties and massively increasing rents.
By this the Govt has put Landlords and Tenants at each other’s throats.
Perfect example of Govt not caring about the ordinary voters, including tenants, is in raising the energy price cap which will impoverish millions who now have to choose between heat or eat, when they could simply insist on keeping the price cap to an affordable level. Higher energy costs will also undoubtedly force some tenants to stop paying their rent.

Barbaracus

8:44 AM, 3rd September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

This will do the following things:

1. Increase the weekly rent for the students to compensate for any void periods (will still be cheaper than PBSA).

2. Reduce/stop investment in student property (refurbishments, new bathrooms, new furniture etc) Example - student tenants would like an additional sofa or a bigger dining table. Normally I would take a view on this and 90% oblige. Now that they can leave after just 2 months. All these requests will be refused.

3. Cause uncertainty for next years students. When do they start looking? When are properties available from? Now, they know they have a contract that starts from 1st September for example. So they have the security of knowing they have somewhere to live for the next academic year. Now that's gone.

4. "some students have families, local roots, live with non-students, or have other reasons why they may wish to remain in the property. " - 5 words: Joint and several liable tenancies

So I have a 5 bed house with five students. One serves notice. All five are now homeless. Nice work GOVT

Gromit

10:54 AM, 3rd September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Question: on joint & several liability tenancy agreement does termination require 1 signature or all tenants signatures?

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