Property industry delighted as Scottish Government moves to exempt student housing from Tenancies Bill
Scotland’s property industry has today (Thursday, February 4) welcomed a move from the Government which means that student accommodation developers will not be subjected to provisions in the Private Housing (Tenancies) Bill.
The Scottish Government last night lodged an amendment to the Private Housing (Tenancies Bill) to ensure that purpose built student accommodation (PBSA), as it is not a part of the mainstream private rented sector (PRS), would be exempt from the Bill.
Giving evidence to the Bill committee in November, the Scottish Property Federation (SPF) warned that provisions in the Bill, such as the extensive security of tenure provisions for private rented properties, could mean that it would no longer be possible to guarantee the availability of first year accommodation for students.
It explained in its evidence that less certainty around the availability of accommodation for student occupation could deter students – particularly those from overseas – from choosing to study in Scotland. This would have a detrimental impact on providers of higher education in Scotland and the Scottish economy.
The SPF also pointed out that the Bill originally exempted university-owned accommodation, but not that held by private providers, even although the product delivered and management challenges faced by each sector are the same.
David Melhuish, director of the Scottish Property Federation, said: “We are delighted to see that the Scottish Government has listened to stakeholder concerns and supported the view that this is something a bit different to the mainstream private rented sector and can be exempt, without harming the interests of students. We have one of the best higher education systems in the world in Scotland and the investment that our members are making in student accommodation helps support it. I am pleased that with the support of the Scottish Government and Parliament that will continue.”