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Unite Offers Students Rental Discount

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Unite Students has announced a rent discount for students following the Government's latest lockdown measures.

Students will be able to apply for a 50% discount for a total of 4 weeks and will also be given a 4-week complimentary extension to their tenancy at the end of the academic year. The offer will be available to all students checked-in but not living in their accommodation between 18th January and 14th February.

The Government has recommended that most students start their second term online until at least mid-February, albeit there are exceptions for some practical courses.

The rental discount and tenancy extension are expected to result in a reduction in ERPA EPS of up to £8 million of 2 pence for the 2021 financial year.

The company maintains that it will retain significant headroom against all Group debt covenants based on 80% occupancy for 2020-21 and expected rent collection from students.

Commenting on the announcement, Richard Smith, Unite Students Chief Executive Officer, said: "We recognise that this is again a particularly challenging time for all students, which is why their health, safety and security has been our priority since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The new rent discount recognises the challenges and disruption that students face following the Government's latest lockdown announcement, and we feel that taking this action is the right thing to do."

Separately, as at 31st December 2020, the Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund (USAF) was valued at £2,798 million, down 0.3% in the quarter on a like-for-like basis and down 1.8% year-on-year. Meanwhile, the London Student Accommodation Joint Venture (LSAV) saw a decline of 0.1% in the quarter to £1,324 million and fall of 0.9% for the year.

The valuations reflect the removal of the temporary reduction in stamp duty. Excluding this impact, valuations were up for both funds.

For the 2021-22 academic year, 57% of rooms are now sold, down from 64% last year. The company is expected demand to remain robust but that the sales cycle will be later than usual due to continued uncertainty related to Covid-19.