Private landlords who let to students warn that the removal of Section 21 “no-fault” evictions could badly damage their sector.
Under the new rules outlined in the A Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper published in June, landlords in England would no longer be able to evict students at the end of the academic year unless they can demonstrate a fault such as rent arrears.
While White Paper authors have said they still expect most students to leave in summer as normal, it means landlords will have fewer options to ensure their properties are free in time for the start of the next academic year. For more risk-averse landlords, even the possibility of not being able to welcome new renters in September could put them off student rentals entirely.
Registered providers of Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA), on the other hand, will be exempt from the new rules. In the White Paper, the government recognised that PBSA typically cannot legally be rented to non-students while ordinary private landlords can let to non-student tenants instead.
But while privately-owned PBSA is growing, it still only houses a minority of students. The National Student Accommodation Survey 2022 found that 40% of UK students rent from a private landlord while 13% live in private halls. If individual landlords quit, students could face a severe shortage of available homes.
Student accommodation providers are now calling on the government to level the playing field between large PBSA providers and individual private landlords by allowing fixed-term student tenancies. Politicians’ decision will have a huge impact on landlords and tenants alike.
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