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Renters Reform Bill threat to student accommodation investment

New research suggests that a majority of the British public believe the government should be doing more to support students find housing.

The news coincides with the Renters Reform Bill returning to Parliament. As part of the Bill, the government plans to end fixed-term tenancy agreements (FTTAs) for private student housing.

Higher education organisations like Universities UK have warned that such a move would threaten the availability, affordability, and quality of student housing in a sector already in crisis.


The new research - commissioned by SAPRIS, standing for Student Accredited Private Rental Sector, a coalition of second- and third-year student accommodation providers across Britain - also shows the potential impact of introducing a ban on FTTAs, with 52 per cent of those polled now believing there isn’t enough student housing.

This follows the abolition of FTTAs in 2017 through the Private Residential Tenancy, resulting in Scottish universities warning students of a critical shortage of accommodation. The news therefore sends an alarming message to the government on the potential of the Renters Reform Bill to worsen the student housing crisis.

In its current form, the Bill will ban FTTAs for private student accommodation in England, despite both students and landlords relying on tenancies that align with the cyclical nature of the academic year. 

SAPRS says it and other experts in the higher education sector believe that the Bill does not recognise the unique structure of the student housing market and therefore fails to adequately deliver for students and student landlords.

The research also found that an overwhelming majority of those who think there is too little housing available believe lower student housing affordability would impact student’s wellbeing.

SAPRS says the Renters Reform Bill must be amended and the group’s chair - Calum MacInnes - comments“Our research provides damning evidence for the government to act quickly and offer parity for private student housing with purpose-built student accommodation. Delivering security for students would win support from this community, at a time when students need it most.”


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