In the recent White Paper, it was proposed that all tenancies would be periodic, without the opportunity to allow a Fixed Term, and that all tenants would be able to give 2 months’ notice, at any time.
It further went on to say that this would apply to all tenancies, including student tenancies, unless the building was purpose-built student accommodation.
This has caused much concern with student landlords, where they might have long void periods.
The Northampton Student Landlords Network, voiced its concerns to the government, and were told by the Ministry that while it expects most students to continue to move in line with the academic year, some might face circumstances beyond their control and will need to vacate a property early, or could be locked into contracts for poor quality housing.
The whole letter follows:
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.