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Students to get Compensation for Construction Delays

Posted by Aisling Murphy

Image courtesy of Flickr, (View licence)

Student housing charity, Unipol, run a set of accreditation schemes called the Codes which student accommodation providers can voluntarily join. According to the Unipol website: "The National Codes were developed to ensure good standards and management within the expanding privately owned and managed student accommodation sector."

In March, Unipol, the National Union of Students, and Accreditation Network UK, formally launched the new National Code for Non-Educational Establishments.

The areas that are particularly affected by the new Code are Equality and Diversity and the requirements regarding New and Late Buildings.

The Equality and Diversity section of the Code has had 'virtually all' previous content altered, and now has a particular focus on providing support for Disabled students.

Unipol states: "Research into the experiences of Disabled students in Higher Education shows that their cost of living is significantly greater than their peers. With a shift in ownership of accommodation to the private sector, it is important that financial support previously administered by educational institutions for these students is replicated through PBSA."

An addition to this section also states a requirement on providing gender-neutral toilet facilities.

The 'New and Refurbished Development Protocol' was introduced to the Codes in 2020, and included the sub-section 'Late Construction: managing the problem and communicating with students'.

The most recent updates embed the requirements for members to abide by the terms of the protocol into the Code itself. Unipol state: "It makes clearer the responsibilities of the providers once a building is confirmed as delayed, and clarifies the steps providers are required to take regarding alternative accommodation and provisions for amenity loss."

One of the most significant changes to the Code is the introduction of compensatory payments for students affected by late buildings. "The intention of these changes are to deter late buildings from occurring as well as to make clear to students what payments they can expect in given circumstances through the development of these no-quibble payments, which will be given in addition to the provision of alternative accommodation if a building is delayed."

The following schedule of payments has been provided:

  • £ 200 for initial inconvenience of the building being delayed
  • £ 200 per week for second-fourth week that a room is late
  • £ 500 for each subsequent 4 weeks after that
  • £ 100 each time a notified moving in date is postponed

The Code is applicable to approximately 50% of PBSA in the UK, but excludes accommodation provided directly by universities.