Date: November 1, 2023
- Students faced “unprecedented problems” in securing accommodation in 2023, which is set to worsen.
- Some UK towns and cities are already at critical points in terms of supply, with students forced to live miles from their university.
- Housing Hand fears that some international students may defer their studies or consider universities in other countries if they cannot find the accommodation they need in the UK.
- Accommodation providers are facing a rollercoaster of regulatory and legal changes, including the Renters Reform Bill, which needs to provide a level playing field between purpose-built student accommodation and HMOs.
- There is a critical need for more joined-up thinking from policymakers, and the Renters Reform Bill should initially focus on accommodation for the non-student market.
Student Rental Market Faces Bleak Future
The student rental market in the UK is facing a bleak future unless urgent action is taken to support landlords and make providing rental homes more attractive, warns the boss of rental guarantee firm Housing Hand.
Graham Hayward, chief operating officer of Housing Hand, says that students starting their courses in autumn 2023 faced “unprecedented problems” in securing appropriate accommodation close to their university. He also says that some UK towns and cities are already at critical points in terms of supply.
Rising student numbers and falling landlord numbers are exacerbating the problem. In cities such as Manchester, London, and Bristol, some students are forced to live miles from their university, which impacts their travel time and costs, as well as the overall quality of their university experience.
Housing Hand is concerned that some international students may look to defer their studies or consider universities in other countries if they are still looking for the accommodation they need in the UK. Domestic students may also be driven to defer.
Accommodation providers have faced a rollercoaster of regulatory and legal changes recently, including Brexit and Covid-19. Now, they need help with the Renters Reform Bill, which Hayward says does not provide a level playing field, given its different treatment of purpose-built student accommodation and HMOs.
Hayward believes there is a critical need for more joined-up thinking. “The UK is currently regarded as a global higher education leader,” he says. “That position could come under threat if all parties involved in educating and housing students cannot work together to achieve a more balanced solution.”
Hayward suggests that the Renters Reform Bill should initially focus on accommodation for the non-student market, giving the student market time to rebalance itself after the Brexit and Covid changes.
The student rental market in the UK is facing several challenges, including rising student numbers, falling landlord numbers, and a need for joined-up thinking from policymakers. Unless urgent action is taken, the market could face a bleak future.