Student Landlords Urged To 'Reconfigure' Property
Student landlords who are facing long void periods since students were ordered home from universities and colleges, should reconfigure their student accommodation to suit mainstream tenants, one firm says.
The recommendation comes from Lambert Smith Hampton, which is part of Countrywide, who say that the void issue could be a critical one - particularly for big corporate landlords and universities who manage their own purpose-built student accommodation.
These purpose-built blocks are now empty because of the UK's current coronavirus lockdown and many student accommodation providers have been forced to release their student tenants from their contract months before the academic year ends.
Lambert Smith Hampton says that rents have also plummeted and vacancy rates are soaring.
The firm also says that student intakes will slump in September as the effects of the pandemic play out around the globe.
They add that some institutions may need to consider pushing the start of their academic year to January 2021.
Student accommodation could be repurposed
Also, LSH says that student accommodation could be repurposed and aimed at young professionals so the landlords are offering either serviced apartments or build-to-rent models.
There's also the potential of offering accommodation to key workers and private residents.
A spokesman for LSH said: "Universities will decide about the academic year start in due course, but this will have a big impact on when students look for lodgings and what rental income the providers could receive."
He added that some student landlords should appreciate that some students may not return this year at all - even if their university reopens for business.
He points to the 485,000 overseas students who may be reconsidering their higher education enrolment in the UK.
The spokesman said: "Depending on the characteristics and the site's location, the change of use for a temporary time can help the situation and most local planning authorities will, in our experience, be sympathetic and keen to avoid having empty buildings."
Coronavirus tools for landlords
Meanwhile, one firm has unveiled tools for helping landlords manage a buy to let portfolio during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
The offering from Lendlord, an online portfolio management platform, says it is introducing updates to its website.
There's also a new feature for helping landlords to stress test their investment portfolio to calculate their rental income at Universal Credit and local housing allowance rates. The offering is free to use.