Fears over the supply of student accommodation and rising student rents

The UK’s leading student accommodation search engine says the supply of HMO (multiple occupancy houses) student accommodation will be jeopardized due to planned changes to tenancies under the Tenant Reform Bill.

This, according to Accommodationforstudents.com, will result in fewer accommodation choices and higher rents for students.

Currently the UK student accommodation market offers students a good range of accommodation options, including purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) provided by universities and the private sector, or options for shared housing in HMOs provided by student owners.

“It is vital that the government exempts student private owners”

Simon Thompson, Director of Accommodationforstudents.com, said: ‘It is, in my view, vital that the Government exempt private student landlords from its proposal to move all rentals to periodic rentals, as it has done for institutional owners who manage Purpose Built Student. Lodging.

“Failure to do so will force private landlords out of the market, narrowing the range of affordable options and driving up rents for students who are already on a tight budget.”

UK students make up 77% of inquiries about HMOs, but only 60% about PBSAs. International students are more likely to inquire about PBSA properties, accounting for 40% of inquiries.

However, plans to ban fixed-term tenancies as part of the Tenant Reform Bill and move tenancies to a periodic lease system would mean students wouldn’t have to vacate their HMO accommodation at the end of their fixed term – usually the end of the academic year.

This would mean that private landlords would not be able to secure places for new students at the start of the next academic year and could drive student landlords out of the market, reducing the diversity of housing options for student life.

“Students will be forced to look for accommodation further afield”

Mr Thompson said: “Additionally, where demand exceeds supply, students will be forced to seek accommodation further away from their college town or campus, which means transport then becomes an additional cost and a problem for students.

“Student housing and its location are an integral part of university life.”

He added: “Many are already facing higher costs due to rising utility bills.

“If students can’t find or afford accommodation, those on a budget are more likely to feel ostracized.”

Students struggle to find suitable accommodation

Student accommodation has already seen the impact following a similar change to the law in Scotland, with students struggling to find suitable accommodation.

Edinburgh ranks in the top 10 most expensive cities for HMO and PBSA at £156.34 and £193.47 per week respectively.

According to AFS data, HMOs are currently marketed at an average of £22 per week less than PBSA, and when a student chooses to manage their own bills, that difference increases to £30.15 per week.

The average price for an HMO is currently £122 per week, or £113.85 without bills. The average price for a PBSA is £144 per week.

Cities are already experiencing a shortage of affordable housing

Following post-pandemic inflation, which has led to an increase in the number of students at some of the most sought-after universities, some cities are already experiencing a shortage of affordable student accommodation.

For example, in Bristol the average price difference between HMO and PBSA is £76 per week, in York £43.53 and Edinburgh £37 per week.

Currently, the most expensive city for student accommodation is London, with an average of £253.17 per week for HMO accommodation, followed by Cambridge and Bath, which are £191.74 and £191.39 respectively.

The cheapest city is Wolverhampton at £68.75, followed by Bolton at £70.45 and Stoke at £77.41.

London is also the most expensive for PBSA at £258.11 per week, followed by Bristol at £243.04 and Bath at £232.80.

The cheapest cities for PBSA are Hartlepool at £69 per week, Bradford at £70.82 and Hull at £75 per week. Coventry, with access to Warwick, is excellent value at £125.83 per week.

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