Students urge the government to resist calls to ‘water down’ Renters’ Reform Bill

Students urge the government to resist calls to ‘water down’ Renters’ Reform Bill

0:01 AM, 26th May 2023, About 12 months ago 8

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The National Union of Students (NUS) is celebrating the Renters’ Reform Bill as a landmark victory for renters’ rights and warns that attempts to ‘water down’ the law will create an ‘underclass’ of student tenants.

The NUS says the proposed law will bring much-needed security and protection to students living in poorly maintained properties.

And despite news this week that the housing secretary Michael Gove is looking at not introducing periodic tenancies for student lets, the NUS says the government should ‘stand firm’.

Mr Gove’s move follows concerns from student landlords and organisations including the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) that the proposed ending of fixed term tenancies will decimate the sector.

‘Putting immense pressure on the Housing Secretary’

Chloe Field, the NUS VP for Higher Education, said: “We know that landlords operating in the student rental market are putting immense pressure on the Housing Secretary to water down those rights and freeze students out from fully benefitting from them.

“We urge the government to stand firm and honour the promise laid out in the draft bill: to protect tenants, including student tenants, from the predatory behaviour of unscrupulous landlords.

“We cannot simply allow students to become an underclass of tenants.

“There is still much to be done with student housing, there are very real supply and affordability problems causing chaos each academic year and we need urgent action from universities, landlords and the government to address them.”

‘Students are experiencing a housing crisis’

Ms Field continued: “Students are experiencing a housing crisis on top of an education crisis.

“I welcome this Bill as an opportunity to provide more secure housing for students and some desperately needed protection from exploitative landlords, giving renters the confidence to demand that those who don’t properly maintain their homes now do so.

“Students fought hard to be included in these reforms and we celebrate this win.”

The ending of fixed term tenancies

One issue raised by student landlords is that the ending of fixed term tenancies means they cannot plan on getting their property back for the next intake of student tenants.

And if more student landlords leave the sector, they warn, finding quality student accommodation will become even harder.

Ben Beadle, the chief executive of NRLA, wrote on LinkedIn: “It is no exaggeration to say that the student market would be decimated by the move to periodic tenancies. Government must change course, urgently.”

Students are ‘at the mercy of arbitrary evictions’

The NUS also says that students are ‘at the mercy of arbitrary evictions’ and warns that the abolition of Section 21 will see students unable to remain in a property long term.

The union also warns that the threat of eviction means that it is ‘commonplace’ for landlords to ignore their obligations to keep their homes to a decent standard.

But without the threat of a section 21 ‘no-fault’ eviction, it says that student tenants can ‘demand improvements to poor quality homes and disrepair’.

It also says that the end of fixed term contracts will enable students to settle in communities after graduating.

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Martin Thomas

10:09 AM, 26th May 2023, About 12 months ago

I thought these people were supposed to be intelligent. Quite a few universities have lobbied the government to allow fixed term tenancies for students because of the problems identified by landlords of scrapping them - is the NUS seriously suggesting that universities would prejudice the welfare of their students? This is just another left wing thicko rant. She talks about supply problems but advocates a policy that would see many student landlords head for the exit. It makes you wonder how she manages to get herself dressed in the afternoon......

Jo Westlake

10:26 AM, 26th May 2023, About 12 months ago

If students want the same type of tenancy agreement as everyone else it could only work if they lost their Council Tax exemption. They would have to accept living in houses shared with working or unemployed people. Landlords can't and won't leave houses empty for months if they get messed about by students leaving too early or staying past the start of the next academic year. The likelihood of finding housing close to the university in September would be slim.
Ultimately it would favour PhD students as they are more likely to stay 3 years + and often start at random times throughout the year.
It would make things extremely difficult and expensive for undergrads. A great many would be forced into the very costly purpose built student flats. Maybe that's the plan?

Freda Blogs

11:54 AM, 26th May 2023, About 12 months ago

“There is still much to be done with student housing, there are very real supply and affordability problems causing chaos each academic year and we need urgent action from universities, landlords and the government to address them.”
Ms Field is looking for co-operation from LLs? To address a problem which will be exacerbated by implementing the very policy change she is looking to retain? By destroying the student LL’s business model and discriminating against the PRS in favour of the PBSA, resulting in an exodus of student properties (just look at Scotland)?
What a naïve, stupid and entitled suggestion.
In my experience in the student market, NUS just stirs the pot and assumes all LLs are evil - they 'advised' my tenants regarding a perfectly amicable deposit discussion and gave incorrect advice which caused all manner of hassle and ruined a previously harmonious Ll/T relationship.
Generally, and on this specific policy point, they are not doing students any favours whatsoever.


14:34 PM, 26th May 2023, About 12 months ago

Does Chloe have any understanding at all of the rental market?


16:12 PM, 26th May 2023, About 12 months ago

I keep reading this ridiculous comment that the abolition of fixed term contracts means that students will be able to settle into communities after graduating. That is such nonsense !! Ever since the Renters Reform Bill was first published I have heard supposedly intelligent people, all in favour of the Bill in its proposed form, add towards the end of their commentary that “oh by the way, it also means that students can stay on and become part of the local community.” Where is the evidence to support that theory ?? In fact it is completely the opposite. Students do not want to integrate into communities where they have studied. They want to go home and get on with the next phase of their lives.

LordOf TheManor

17:12 PM, 26th May 2023, About 12 months ago

What a load of codswallop from the NUS!

Many student houses in the PRS are only suited to a student set-up where the spaces are study/bedrooms and sharing of facilities is the norm. Some are quite large house-shares with random people just thrown together by the need for a bed near uni - so it's not the place for your professional life.

Others who come together as a new friendship group three months into their life in halls search for their new abode in January to take up in July. It's not the reality that these groups look to stay under the same roof after graduation. They all have separate plans made long ago and they follow them, not their house-mates.

As stated by RC, after their last exam the graduates are happy to go home or have some time off on holiday before they find a job that meets their newly acquired skills. In some cases that's anywhere in the country.

Of note, most students are extremely poor when they leave uni - and they know there is no more grant money about to drop into their much depleted bank accounts.

They struggle to match their new career life with suitable accommodation because of several factors:

1. They need a deposit & the first month's rent before they start earning in their new job. Where's that money coming from?
2. Non-student accommodation is mostly unfurnished. New graduates don't have the spare funds for furniture.
3. Cost of private rent plus bills (which might have been included in their student property) now have to be budgeted for, including council tax which they don't pay as a student. On top of that, student loan payments kick in..... now more expensive and the debt longer lasting than ever before.
4. Without someone to advance them funds, the transition from student to working life is a big expensive step.


Based on the lack of funds on course completion, likely no job until later in the year and enhanced living costs with no grant dropping into their bank account - it is rather fanciful for the NUS to think that a new graduate continuing to stay on in the same property would suit the landlord's letting criteria. No money coming in, no guarantor, no job (yet) or never. Who knows?

The tenancy cannot 'roll-over' because there has been a fundamental change in the tenant-type. They would have to be re-referenced etc to meet our insurance requirements and in all likelihood, they would FAIL on all fronts, every time.

NUS - you don't really know this market at all, do you?

Dylan Morris

10:30 AM, 27th May 2023, About 12 months ago

Here’s a different take on this subject. Of course I feel desperately for landlords in the student sector. But there may be some good news here. Students aren’t going to find accommodation so they will give up on going to Uni which in most cases would be a very good thing. What’s the point of going there to study underwater basket weaving or Elizabethan poetry. Unless you’re going to be a doctor or engineer where a degree is essential there’s hardly any point……other than loading yourself up with mountains of debt and going through the left wing brainwashing ideology so when you graduate your only source of information is from The Guardian and you think Marx and Lenin were heroes. No…. much better to get a trade, be an electrician or plumber, maybe become self employed as well and not let your brain be polluted with all the education industry trans and LBGTQ+ propaganda. It could actually be a good thing and us landlords will benefit as we may actually be able to find a plumber when we need one. Perhaps this is the Government’s plan …… only joking they’re not that smart.

Grumpy Doug

16:46 PM, 28th May 2023, About 12 months ago

I am a student landlord and indeed I have had students stayingn on in the area after they've graduated. What the thick Chloe doesn't get, is that none of my lot have any intention of staying on in a student house. They are ex-students! They want to become proper adults and live in a proper flat with their partner, not living in a student house in a student area. They want to get up with the rest of us adults, not some time in the afternoon.
She is either unbelievably dim or just has an ingrained hatred of "greedy landlords" like her peers in Scotland who spend their time ranting about landlords creating the housing crisis up there, ignoring the carnage created by the SNO and their Green helpers

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