Is PBSA now more popular with students than traditional HMOs?

Is PBSA now more popular with students than traditional HMOs?

  • 85% of HMO landlords not up to scratch with new regulations (Simple Landlords Insurance)
  • 84% of students worry about having enough to live on (National Student Money)
  • 22% increase in first-year students choosing PBSA accommodation (Collegiate)


Tuition fee hikes, soaring rents of HMO properties and rising concerns from students over the value for money of accommodation have all changed the landscape of UK student housing. Tighter restrictions around HMO properties, which have long been a popular choice of accommodation for higher education students, whilst many would argue necessary have made it even harder and more costly for private landlords to accommodate the demands of 21st century students.

New government proposals, outlined originally in a consultation paper in October 2016 suggest that landlords who own HMOs will require new mandatory licenses to operate. The government also plans to impose a new minimum size of 6.52 square metres for a single person resulting in some HMOs needing to be reconfigured, potentially losing an income generating room.

However, recent research by Simple Landlords Insurance reveals that more than 85% of landlords are not familiar with these new laws set to come into effect in Spring 2018 with students the first to suffer from the confusion, inevitable disruption and potentially higher rents imposed to cover costs.

Burdened with sizeable debt upon graduation, today’s students are already struggling to fund rising rents with the National Student Money Survey reporting that 84% of students are worried about having enough to live on at the end of the month.

“Students just want a decent home. They want to enjoy the standards of housing that they are accustomed to but unfortunately, some private landlords fail to understand today’s students’ needs.”

Heriberto Cuanalo, CEO, Collegiate

Although most higher education students in the UK live in privately owned rental properties, levels of satisfaction with this type of accommodation have fallen in recent years.

The relationship between landlord, letting agent and student is often a difficult one, sullied by horror stories of the rental experience coming from all sides. But with the boom in investment in purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) over the past decade, students are seeing a more desirable, and in many ways, better value for money, alternative.

This growing interest for PBSA units is witnessed by luxury accommodation provider Collegiate which has seen a 22% increase in first-year students opting for PBSA accommodation for the 2017/18 academic year compared to traditional university-operated halls.

With PBSA sites such as those operated by Collegiate, students can count on a more reliable housing provider where they benefit from living in a place where safety and security is paramount, utilities are included in the rent and a wide range of on-site amenities are complementary.

PBSA provided by Collegiate is more reliable and less disruptive for students. We strive to ensure a consistently high quality of accommodation and service across all our sites, taking away the hassles of renting and allowing residents to just focus on their studies.”

Heriberto Cuanalo, CEO, Collegiate

 Take Collegiate Crown House in Sheffield as an example. One of Collegiate’s Prestige Collection, the purpose-built development offers students 24-hour concierge services with CCTV cameras, contemporary accommodation all with en-suite bathrooms and complemented by first-class amenities including fitness suite, indoor and outdoor cinemas, gaming rooms and cold stores.

The benefits of living in accommodation owned by a professional, registered company versus a private landlord are significant. Collegiate sites are specifically designed with students in mind with bedrooms configured to maximise space and light, providing ample room to study and rest.

Professional interior designers are employed to deliver a stylish and modern look and feel to both the accommodation itself as the communal areas. The amenity spaces from the study rooms through to the private dinner party rooms and outdoor terraces are also carefully crafted to create the ideal community environment.

Not just this but the on-site concierge teams mean that there is always someone on hand to answer queries, not matter how small, and deal with any maintenance issues in a timely fashion.

Being an award-winning limited company and with an established track record in the market, over 60,000 residents have trusted Collegiate to deliver the exceptional experience they demand. Collegiate’s scale and scope also offers students (and their parents) extra reassurance.

“Our focus is on delivering excellence in all that we do – from the very first conversation with our development partners through all the stages of design and construction, to delivering an exceptional experience for all of our residents. Why? Because we believe that this combination delivers superior value for everyone.”

Heriberto Cuanalo, CEO, Collegiate

Not satisfied with changing the face of student accommodation in the UK alone, Collegiate has plans to wider its property portfolio with a launch of new PBSA sites across Europe in 2018 with its first, Marques de Pombal, in Lisbon.

“Collegiate Marques de Pombal will provide domestic and international students with a unique living experience, enabling them to make the most of their university careers both studiously and socially. The lifestyle-led apartments and social spaces have been carefully designed to create an environment where students can feel safe and looked after.”

Heriberto Cuanalo, CEO, Collegiate

For more information and to book accommodation in university towns and cities across the UK and Europe, contact Collegiate on +44 1235 250 140 or visit