Landlords Worry As Students Head Home
With university students returning to parental homes, landlords across the UK are being urged to ‘remain calm’.
The call comes from one student housing provider who says many students will still be receiving loans from the government so there's no reason for them not to pay their rent.
A director of the organisation, Marcus Askam-Yates, said: "Like many agencies, we've had emails and phone calls from worried landlords that their rent income will decline.
"We've reassured them that as tenants will have signed legally binding contracts, they are still able to live as normal in their homes without risk."
Landlords who are worried about rent not being paid
The National Landlords’ Association say that landlords who are worried about rent not being paid because student tenants have left should begin making arrangements with guarantors.
This follows government advice which saw most students leaving en-masse and colleges and universities closing campuses and moving their teaching online.
The policy and public affairs manager at the NLA, Meera Chindooroy, said: "Landlords with a buy to let mortgage facing this situation should contact their lender to discuss a mortgage holiday possibility for the next three months.
"Landlords should check also whether they have been covered by rent guarantee insurance."
She added that for landlords with student tenants, it is good practice for them to have guarantors in place because they will then be legally responsible for paying the rent should a student tenant default.
Fears over the departure of students from universities
The call to remain calm comes after the Nottingham-based East Midlands Property Owners Group raised fears over the departure of students from universities and colleges in the UK.
They say that some student tenants believe that they will no longer be liable for paying rent after moving out, which could see many landlords racking up debt.
The organisation's business development manager, Giles Inman, said: "Students are contacting landlords to say they've moved back to their parental home and are asking whether they need to pay more rent.
"There's nothing a landlord can do to evict their tenant because courts will not provide them with a possession order. "
He added that landlords are worried that the system is open to potential abuse, particularly from those who say they are ill when they are not.
Meanwhile, the National Landlords’ Association and the Residential Landlords’ Association have welcomed a government package to help support people and their income during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Among the moves they have welcomed is for local housing allowance to cover at least 30% of a market rent within a claimant's area to help support landlords and tenants.
The landlord organisations said they were also pleased to see an offer to cover up to 80% of employees’ wages, where they are retained by the employer but unable to work as this will help sustain tenancies.