Student Evictions Reduced as More Landlords Insist on Guarantors

by 4SNET on August 13, 2013

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Going to University can be tough. Tuition fees, which are now around £9000 per year, can be off-putting, and often the range of student loans and grants does not meet the student’s shortfall in living costs. In areas where there are lots of students, part-time jobs can be hard to come by and rental housing prices soar as demand often exceeds supply. The impact of these costs are clear to see: in 2012, when the new tuition fees were introduced, applications via UCAS, the University admission service, fell by 50,000 students.

Students who live in a house with a landlord, where they share a bathroom and kitchen, are classed as an excluded occupier, which means that you have less rights than those in privately rented houses, or those who live in halls of residence. If you are an excluded occupier, and your landlord wants to evict you, then they only need to give you ‘reasonable notice’ to leave the property, which could be an arbitrary period of time. In addition, this notice only needs to be verbal and also does not require a court order.

Students can be evicted for anti-social behaviour, but by far the most common is for the arrears of rent: if students owe two months’ rent, or more, then it is possible for evict them. The process for evicting a student, if they meet the criteria, is to ask the student to leave, usually with a written notice. The written notice must specify the amount of time that the student has to leave by, including a specific date, and give the reasons why the student is being asked to leave. This notice is called a S8 notice of possession.

After issuing this, then the tenant must have 14 days to respond: if the student doesn’t respond, then the landlord can issue a Court Order for a possession order.  It is likely that, if the student has not responded to letters, then the Court will find in the landlord’s favour and will give the student a set amount of time to vacate the property. If the student refuses to leave, then the landlord can apply for the Court for a bailiff to complete the eviction, and take any possessions belonging to the tenant to clear any outstanding monies. An S21 notice can be served if the landlord simply wants the property back at the end of the short-term tenancy period, even if there are no problems.

But, due to the guarantor, is it the case that student evictions even get this far? Or, does a simple letter to the guarantor usually mean that they pay the student’s rent? The point of a guarantor is that they have some capital, so that they could be pursued for the debt: therefore, they should ideally be a homeowner. By association, this means that any guarantor is likely to worry about their credit rating and, if they find that their offspring has not paid the rent, are likely to pay up to protect their own credit rating. Some tenant referencing companies now offer combined student and guarantor references reports (see what is included here) which help to reduce the cost of referencing two people – however the majority of landlords pass on these costs as “admin costs” to the new tenants.

4SNET provides internet marketing and advice for businesses in the UK property, legal and finance sectors.

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