The rental market in lockdown 3.0 and beyond – what’s does 2021 have in store?

The rental market in lockdown 3.0 and beyond – what’s does 2021 have in store?

United Kingdom
  • Housing Hand looks at student and wider rental market for coming year
  • Brexit to compound impact of COVID-19 on landlords
  • Hope on horizon from 2022 onwards

2021 was viewed by many as a fresh start – a chance to move on from the myriad difficulties of 2020. Yet January brought more of the same almost immediately, with school closures and the strict implementation of lockdown 3.0. There’s been plenty of speculation about what this could mean for the UK’s property sales over the coming year, but what about the private rented sector?

UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand works with landlords and tenants across the UK, providing the company with plenty of insights into the difficulties that the sector is facing. According to Group Managing Director Jeremy Robinson, 2021 could be a bumpy year for the rental market.

The pandemic has created a number of issues, ranging from tenants becoming unable to pay their rent to would-be renters experiencing difficulties during the referencing process. The latest lockdown and its subsequent economic impact have the potential to exacerbate these problems significantly.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

And then there’s Brexit. COVID-related travel restrictions have largely eclipsed Brexit-related issues so far. However, the impact of changes to flows of workers and students into the UK from Europe will be increasingly felt over the course of 2021, according to Housing Hand’s Terry Mason.

“A large number of those who travel to the UK for work or study rent their homes privately while here. Landlords who serve that market are going to feel the impact of Brexit strongly this year.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

COVID comes into play as well for the student private rental market. Should universities deliver courses virtually rather than in-person come the start of the new academic year in September, there’s likely to be a significant impact on those who usually rent properties to students.

Thankfully, the news isn’t all doom and gloom. Rural areas and the Home Counties have enjoyed a surge in rental demand as tenants move out of London and other major cities and Housing Hand anticipates this trend continuing in 2021, as renters continue to drift out of urban areas as their current tenancies expire.

“Lockdown 3.0 will once again emphasise the benefits of renting larger properties with outside space. The Office for National Statistics reports that 21% of London’s households have no access to a garden, either private or shared. The lower cost of renting outside of the city means that a garden suddenly becomes much more affordable.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

A further glimmer of hope for landlords is that, while COVID has had a significant impact on the UK rental sector, there’s every reason to believe that a return to pre-pandemic normality will take place at some point once vaccinations reach the required levels. Hopes may not be too high for this to happen in 2021, and certainly not in time to mitigate the impact of lockdown 3.0, but there is a brighter future ahead eventually for both landlords and tenants.

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

Rental guarantor services “keeping up momentum” in private rented sector, reports Housing Hand

Rental guarantor services “keeping up momentum” in private rented sector, reports Housing Hand

United Kingdom
  • Guarantor services providing accommodation providers with more potential tenants
  • No-cost solution for landlords protects them against lost rental income
  • Guarantors helping to mitigate COVID’s impact on private rented sector

UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has highlighted the importance of professional guarantors in keeping the private rented sector buoyant during the COVID-19 pandemic. The largest rent guarantor service in the UK, the company works with accommodation providers to deliver access to a wider pool of tenants.

By acting as a guarantor for working professionals and students, Housing Hand increases the number of renters available to accommodation providers, thus helping to keep the market buoyant, despite the financial uncertainties that currently abound.

Rental guarantor services help tenants to access the accommodation they want, but they are also hugely beneficial to the providers of that accommodation. They provide a degree of certainty, as landlords know that there is a professional service ready to step in should the tenant become unable to pay their rent. In these uncertain economic times, that knowledge can be very reassuring; it is keeping up momentum in the private housing sector.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

Housing Hand’s service, which is free for landlords and agents to use, can provide payment to an accommodation provider in the event that a tenant is unable to do so. The award-winning service also comprehensively covers damages and dilapidations. To date, Housing Hand has worked with over 3,500 accommodation providers and has covered more than £646 million in rent since 2013.

With a professional guarantor service in place, landlords are able to move forward with tenancies that may not otherwise have been viable, as they have the reassurance that they won’t end up out of pocket.

Housing Hand’s service is available to landlords, letting agents, universities and purpose-build student accommodation providers. In every case, the company works to provide access to a greater number of potential tenants.

“The rental sector is often quick to feel the impact of recessionary times. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented some unique economic challenges, which we will need to work together to overcome. Hopefully, by supporting the fluidity of the rental sector, we will help to mitigate at least some of the impact of the pandemic.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

Students to serve as landlords’ ray of light in 2021

Students to serve as landlords’ ray of light in 2021

United Kingdom
  • Housing Hand forecasts Brexit as exacerbating economic impact of COVID-19
  • Falling property prices, tax changes and fewer international renters will mean a tough year for landlords
  • A bumper cohort of students in September 2021 will provide the sole ray of light

Many people are looking to 2021 to deliver them from the horrors of 2020. However, with mass vaccination likely to take months and the impact of Brexit thrown into the mix, there’s unlikely to be much for landlords to celebrate during the first half of the year.

UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has flagged up the combined impact of falling property prices, tax changes and lower numbers of international renters as a major stumbling block for the UK rental sector over the year ahead.

The only thing certain about the UK rental market following Brexit, is uncertainty. Landlords face uncertain income from tenants, while tenants continue to face uncertain income due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, the number of working European tenants is likely to drop due to Brexit and COVID. All against a likely backdrop of falling property prices.

The requirements for European tenants to travel, work and rent in the UK will change as a result of Brexit. Renting is likely to become more difficult, as the right to rent requirements will almost certainly change at some point in the not-too-distant future. Brexit’s effect on rental property, compounded by COVID, tax and legislation changes, means it is difficult to foresee many positives for landlords in 2021.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

According to JLL, house prices in 2021 are likely to drop by 1.5%, with rental values falling by 1.0%. Lost GDP growth, rising unemployment, falling housing affordability and the removal of the furlough scheme will all play a role in this. Others in the industry are more confident, forecasting growth in prices in 2021, though the end of the Stamp Duty holiday could have a significant impact. In any case, the market for capital growth is likely to be flat.

Growth in income for landlords will also be a challenge due to increased competition. With job availability decreasing and freedom to travel for work stopping from Europe, the number of tenants coming into the UK will decrease, exacerbating landlords’ troubles.

Fewer international tenants, an increase in tenants defaulting on rent and a likely oversupply of rental accommodation shifting the national picture to a tenants’ market rather than a landlords’ one certainly paints a grim picture. However, Housing Hand does highlight one ray of hope: students.

“The indications are that the 2021/22 academic year is likely to be a bumper year for students, with little reaction to Brexit. We have last year’s candidates who decided to take a year out rather than attending university now wanting to start. We also have a larger number of students reaching university age with fewer jobs available, meaning going to university becomes a safer option. Then there’s the fact that a larger number of international students started university in 2020 and will thus be returning for their second year.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

Knight Frank and UCAS report that 30% of first-year students live in privately rented accommodation or at home with parents or guardians (in addition to the 30% who live in private purpose-built student accommodation). As such, a bumper year for university entrants spells very good news for landlords with properties in the right locations.

Rental guarantor services, meanwhile, provide those renting to students (and, indeed, working professionals), with the peace of mind that they won’t end up out of pocket should the tenant fail to pay their rent. This means that landlords can be confident in capitalising on renting to students over the course of 2021 – a ray of hope to which many will likely be clinging.

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

Advantages of guarantor services still not fully understood within the private rented sector

Advantages of guarantor services still not fully understood within the private rented sector

United Kingdom
  • Housing Hand seeking to shed light on multiple benefits of using a guarantor company for covering rent performance
  • Guarantor services helping landlords, agents and tenants
  • Pandemic making such services more valuable than ever

UK rent guarantor service Housing Hand is seeking to clarify and confirm the advantages of guarantor companies to those operating in the private rented sector. It comes after the company revealed that there is still a common misconception among many letting agents that such services are only for the benefit of landlords. Some landlords, meanwhile, mistakenly believe that they won’t continue to receive full rent payments, should the tenant not be able to pay.

The way that guarantor companies work delivers a triple set of benefits, with landlords, letting agents and tenants all gaining protection as a result of using these services. Yet the advantages are not fully understood. That’s why we’re working to showcase the triple benefits of guarantor services for the rental sector.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

The benefit to landlords is immediately apparent. Should the tenant become unable to pay part or all of their rent, the landlord has a safety net that means they won’t lose out financially – the rent guarantor company pays 100% of the rent for all valid claims.

This safety net benefits agents as well. Rent collection and maintenance charges only apply as long as the rent keeps being paid. If a tenant cannot pay, then the agent loses out as well as the landlord. However, with a rent guarantor company in place, both landlord and agent will continue to receive their income, despite the tenant’s inability to pay.

Of course, for the tenants the advantage comes from not having to move out or face a lengthy and stressful potential eviction process when they can’t pay their rent. They can instead remain in the property and repay the debt over a period of time.

“There are many different risks and priorities for landlords, agents and tenants these days. The economic impact of the pandemic is already starting to bite and is sadly likely to get worse as we head into 2021. That’s why rent guarantor services are so important right now.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

One issue around how rent performance may be underwritten needs specific clarity and we can use the Housing Hand example to demonstrate this. Housing Hand (as a guarantor company) operates guarantees as a professional service. It is backed by Lloyds syndicate insurance, delivers 100% pay-out and is governed by the landlord.

A company guarantor, meanwhile, is where a company that provides other services or products, may guarantee its employees’ rent. These are subject to the quality of the company and are typically not backed by specific insurance.

And then there’s rental guarantee insurance, which is where a landlord or letting agent, in conjunction with an insurance broker, issues a policy that covers rent with a more limited scope or value.

“We’ve spent nearly eight years now proving that the guarantor company model is the safest approach for tenants, landlords and agents. All three key stakeholders benefit from knowing that they will be protected from financial loss and from the incredible stress of an eviction process. The more the mutual benefits are understood across the private rented sector, the better it will be for all concerned.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

Housing Hand calls for government to step in between landlords and tenants who can’t pay rent

Housing Hand calls for government to step in between landlords and tenants who can’t pay rent

United Kingdom
  • Action needed to address mounting tenant debt
  • Government-backed rent debt loan could support both landlords and tenants
  • Switch of focus from evictions to debt solutions needed as second wave builds

UK rent guarantor service Housing Hand is calling on the government to step in and solve the issue of mounting tenant debt caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is proposing a simple rent debt loan solution that would enable accommodation providers to avoid evicting non-paying tenants.

There are many different scenarios that are leading tenants to have difficulty paying their rent. Some can’t pay due to having been made redundant, being furloughed or having hours reduced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Others are claiming Housing Benefit but not paying rent because they know they cannot be evicted. There is also a wide range of other circumstances, with the common thread being that, whatever the situation, the landlord is still legally entitled to payment.

“The government cannot use private accommodation providers to bail out the rent arrears problem created by COVID-19. Action needs to be taken now, before the second wave builds, to assure both tenants and landlords that there is another option open to them aside from eviction, which in most cases both parties are keen to avoid.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

According to Housing Hand, the pending housing crisis is not one of evictions getting out of control, but the rental debt the tenants owe and how they can repay the landlords who are legally entitled to be paid. A rent debt loan, paid to landlords by the government and then repaid by the tenant as affordability allows, could provide a simple way to avoid a huge number of evictions.

The landlords in all rent debt cases are losing. Some are happy to defer payment or reschedule but cannot countenance having nothing at all. This means that many will face the prospect of having to evict perfectly good tenants due to the financial impact of COVID-19. It also raises the prospect of them selling their asset, which isn’t a good outcome for anyone.

“Almost all landlords are content with tenants remaining in their properties as long as they are paying rent, so this is the area the government needs to address to maintain tenancies – not put a blanket ban on evictions and expect the private housing sector to foot the bill.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

There’s also the issue of student rental debt building up. Student tenancies are further complicated by the migratory nature of those who hold them, along with the potential for further lockdowns and remote education. The combination of these factors has led many students to favour a “no stay, no pay” mentality. However, that ignores the fact that student renters are still legally obliged to pay their landlords under the legally binding commitments made in their Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreements.

Some accommodation providers have agreed that students who cannot travel to the property to start the AST will be released from the contract as it is frustrated. Some have even gone further and said that if students are told by the government or World Health Organization to move out during the tenancy, then they will be released from the AST.

However, some student renters want even more concessions, such as tenancies being voided if they change their minds about going to university or want to travel home if their university town goes into lockdown. Again, it is private landlords who are left to deal with the financial and legal fallout of such situations if the student decides not to pay.

“The private rental sector is vital to the UK’s housing makeup. If tenants genuinely cannot pay their rent, the government must step in and support them. Private accommodation providers cannot be expected to provide homes without being paid. In many instances, rent covers the landlord’s mortgage and maintenance costs, meaning that non-payment puts both the tenant and the landlord at risk. We need a solution in place before the second wave really hits and delivers a huge economic as well as health impact.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

A new look for the new normal – why lockdown caused so many companies to rebrand

A new look for the new normal – why lockdown caused so many companies to rebrand

United Kingdom
  • Housing Hand launches a new brand and new services in midst of COVID crisis
  • Move reflects trend for brands to look inward during lockdown and focus on their core values
  • Emphasis on creating something positive out of coronavirus pandemic
  • Housing Hand still able to operate during the COVID crisis, continuing to offer guarantees and help

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused companies up and down the UK (and elsewhere) to look inward like never before. With staff working from home or furloughed, many management teams have taken the opportunity to review their internal processes, customer engagement strategies, services offerings and more.

UK rent guarantor service Housing Hand is one business that continued to operate during the crisis and used the lockdown time productively. The company has rebranded and launched a new website packed with additional features, in a move displaying determination to create something positive out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re living through extremely worrying times right now, with both health and financial concerns weighing heavily on many individuals, families and businesses. For companies, the need to adapt to the new normal has been intense. At Housing Hand, we’ve used the lockdown to focus on our brand, our values and make some exciting improvements to the services that we offer through our website.

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

Housing Hand’s fresh website includes a new pricing guide to enable students and working professionals to get a free quote prior to applying for a rent guarantor, along with a booking system for arranging meetings and calls with the company’s helpful team via their website. Not only that, but the enhanced House Finder service sends out thousands of free leads to Housing Hand’s partners.

Housing Hand’s new look for the new normal sees ‘Percy the pigeon’ walking applicants through the site’s contents in pursuit of their new ‘nest,’ whether that’s student accommodation or a private rental property.

“We were able to continue operating during COVID, using the time to re-strategise and realign to our core company values. We’re so happy that we’ve launched a fully rebranded website that enhances the user experience and makes it even easier for individuals from around the world to access the information that they need on how to apply for a UK rent guarantor.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

News of the rebrand comes hot on the heels of Housing Hand’s acquisition of the UK Guarantor website, further cementing its position as the country’s leading rent guarantor firm. A referral partnership between Housing Hand and property platform Accommodation for Students has also just been revealed.

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

Housing Hand acquires UK Guarantor website and secures partnership with Accommodation for Students

Housing Hand acquires UK Guarantor website and secures partnership with Accommodation for Students

United Kingdom
  • UK’s leading rent guarantor firm acquires the website of the country’s second largest service
  • Housing Hand has covered more than £646 million in rent since 2013
  • Accommodation for Students partnership to support students across UK

The COVID-19 lockdown has been an exceptionally busy time for the team at Housing Hand. The UK’s largest rent guarantor firm has just announced that it has acquired ukguarantor.com. Student Marketing Agency Ltd, who previously operated the website will no longer process guarantor applications but will continue to manage existing guarantor commitments and support Housing Hand in the smooth transition of new applicants.  The move means that Housing Hand will be taking over all of UK Guarantor’s new and renewal applications (previous matters will still be dealt with by Student Marketing Agency Ltd).

The new arrangements will build on the foundation that Housing Hand has already built. The company has helped and processed 87,764 applicants since 2013, working with more than 3,500 accommodation providers. The total rent covered in that time has topped £646 million.

We are delighted to have acquired the UK Guarantor website to serve even more tenants and students across the UK. Through this and the new partnership with Accommodation for Students, we will offer an enhanced, UK-wide service that enables individuals to rent the properties of their choice without needing to find thousands of pounds for a deposit.

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

We’re living in unprecedented times and the need for guarantor services has never been more acute. We will be working closely with Housing Hand to ensure a smooth transition for new applicants. Housing Hand provide an invaluable resource for many of those who are already facing additional pressures in their lives.

Nick Emms, UK Guarantor

Housing Hand acts as a guarantor for students and other renters who otherwise would not have one. Housing Hand liaises with the potential landlord, letting agent or university in order to make the necessary arrangements. Renters who would otherwise be asked to stump up six to 12 months’ rent in advance are thus spared the difficulty of having to do so. The service costs from as little as £295, with payment by instalments also available.

In order to streamline the guarantor process, Housing Hand is built into many accommodation providers’ booking forms. This is where the new partnership with Accommodation for Students comes in. A property platform for students, Accommodation for Students acts as a referral partner for UK Guarantor – and now for Housing Hand. The arrangement means that students in need of a guarantor are provided with an established, trustworthy service that can enable them to access the accommodation they desire.

“As the UK’s number one student accommodation website, we are thrilled to be working in partnership with Housing Hand. Together, we aim to ensure that those studying at the UK’s world-renowned universities are able to access appropriate accommodation throughout their higher education.”

Simon Thompson, Managing Director, Accommodation for Students

Finding a way forward as part of the ‘new normal’ has seen many organisations innovate and form new alliances in order to adapt. Housing Hand has used the experience to take the next step in its history, enabling it to support the ongoing stability of the UK rental sector.

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

Only My Share seeks to reassure private renters

Only My Share seeks to reassure private renters

United Kingdom ,
  • 25% of tenants fear falling into rent arrears (Landlord Information Network)
  • Clarity lacking on eventual outcomes for renters struggling due to pandemic
  • Only My Share offering reassurance to renters in shared households 

It’s a troubling time for renters. While the UK’s major banks are working with the government to provide property owners who need it with a three-month mortgage break if required, plans for private renters (who account for one in five UK households) have unfolded far less rapidly and clearly. 

What the government has done is announce that “no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this difficult time.” 

“While ensuring no evictions is a positive step, it does nothing to address the issue of tenants who find themselves unable to pay their rent and are thus building up rent arrears. Many people who are self-isolating or looking after children who would otherwise be in school or early years childcare settings, may suddenly find themselves unable to work and unable to earn. If they’re building up rent arrears, what will happen as soon as the eviction ban lifts? The government’s plan to leave landlords and tenants to ‘work together to establish an affordable repayment plan’ doesn’t sound very reassuring.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Only My Share 

Cases of tenants who are seriously behind on their rent were already rising, before the added complication of the global pandemic. The Landlord Information Network reports that over 25% of tenants fear they will fall into rent arrears. 

For those living in shared houses, the issue of rent arrears has been a thorny one for some time. ‘Joint and several’ tenancy agreements mean that all tenants are equally liable for each other’s obligations under the contract. This means that a tenant can be taken to court for their housemate’s rent arrears (once the courts begin processing such cases again).

Those who are concerned about being in such a situation are not without options. Rent arrears protection service Only My Share exists to deal with precisely these circumstances. Housemates and their guarantors can both enjoy protection of  up to £10,000 of fellow housemates’ arrears from just £99 per year; subject to their standard terms and conditions

“Many sharers don’t realise that they could be liable for thousands of pounds of rent arrears based on payments that were never theirs to make in the first place. With the current pandemic highlighting the precarious conditions that many renters face, services like Only My Share can provide a very welcome degree of reassurance.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Only My Share 

Only My Share is part of the Housing Hand group. Housing Hand provides a UK rent guarantor service, while Only My Share protects the guarantor… and the tenant. 

For more information please contact Only My Share today on +44 (0) 203 887 2961 or visit https://www.onlymyshare.com/ 

Housing Hand expects little help for middle-aged renters from new Housing Minister

Housing Hand expects little help for middle-aged renters from new Housing Minister

Spain
  • Middle-aged people are 3x more likely to rent than 20 years ago
  • 19 Housing Ministers in 21 years provides little impetus for real change
  • Older renters and 2 million freelancers both increasingly need for rent guarantor services

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that people in their mid-30s to mid-40s are three times more likely to be renting than those in the same age group were 20 years ago. Of these middle-aged renters, a third were renting privately in 2017, up from just one in ten in 1997. 

UK rent guarantor service Housing Hand has flagged this up as a concern, both in respect of those trapped in the rental sector at present and in relation to their outlook as they age. 

“We’re seeing the age of the average renter change as it becomes harder to get onto the housing ladder. There’s been a marked change in the number of those renting later into life over the past two decades. What does this mean for those renters as they get older? At the same time, the number of young people who own their own home is dropping, so the number of older renters will continue to swell.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

The ONS figures show that half of people in their mid-30s to mid-40s had a mortgage in 2017, down from two thirds back in 1997. Combine this with the rise of freelancing in the UK (the country is now home to two million freelancers) and it’s easy to see why there’s a growing demand for rent guarantor services. 

Housing Hand has been providing rent guarantor services for working professionals for seven years. The company steps in to provide an affordable solution where the renter would otherwise need to pay rent upfront to secure the property. 

“For many working professionals, the nature of their work has shifted from fulltime employment to freelancing. Private landlords may shy away from freelancers due to the potential instability of their income or else ask them to pay several months’ worth of rent upfront. Rent guarantor services exist to help the tenant avoid such an onerous condition while also providing the landlord with the assurance they are seeking in terms of the rent being paid on time.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

In theory, the new Housing Minister, Christopher Pincher, who replaced Esther McVey during the February 2020 Cabinet reshuffle, has it in his purview to tackle the difficulties faced by middle-aged and older renters. However, not everyone has faith that this will be a priority. The fact that there have been 19 Housing Ministers in the last 21 years means that none of those appointed have had the time to fully understand, consult, implement changes and then monitor their effects fully. It means that Pincher, whose tenure will no doubt be as short-lived as those of his 18 predecessors, will have little chance to improve the current situation. 

“The housing market is incredibly complex. Without sufficient time to analyse and understand its complexities, Housing Ministers are forced to make knee-jerk, headline-hitting decisions, which they then don’t take ownership of because they’re usually replaced by the time their ideas have been fully implemented. It’s unlikely that a long-term solution to the increase in the number of middle-aged and older renters will be found under such conditions.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

Nor is it necessarily in the government’s interest to move people out of the private rented sector. Some of the tenants that Housing Hand has worked with are paying as much as 70% of their income on rent. Consider that in some circumstances over 40% of that rent goes to the government as tax, the combined tax income is astonishing. 

The company gives an example of a tenant earning £2,000 per month and paying a monthly rent of £800. The combined landlord and tenant tax income comes to £1,253 per month. How much enthusiasm exists to mend the broken housing market in such circumstances is certainly open to speculation. As such, it falls to companies like Housing Hand to plug the gaps and support those looking to rent later into life.  

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

Housing Hand highlights pressure on UK universities as political and economic factors take their toll

Housing Hand highlights pressure on UK universities as political and economic factors take their toll

United Kingdom
  • Enhanced further education sector in China may dent UK’s international student numbers
  • Potential tuition fee cuts could jeopardise course quality
  • Brexit’s impact on the 18% of academic staff who hail from the EU is not yet known

The UK’s universities are under increasing pressure to do more for their students, even as resources are being cut, UK rent guarantor service Housing Hand reports. Housing Hand is working in partnership with select universities in order to better support students in accessing safe, appropriate accommodation during their studies. Most recently, it launched a year-long trial with Goldsmiths, University of London, that sees the Housing Hand rent guarantor service available to all Goldsmiths students at a significantly reduced rate.

Academic institutions in the UK are trying to deal with a range of issues at present, while still trying to fulfill their duty of care to all those who study at them. We’re looking for innovative ways to try and help universities support their students in the face of diminishing resources, so that they can ultimately deliver greater value.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

Housing Hand helps students with no UK-based rent guarantor to secure suitable accommodation, whether that be through a landlord, agent or other student housing provider. By using Housing Hand, students can mitigate the need to pay 6-12 months’ rent upfront – a standard requirement for those who have no guarantor. The service is available to domestic students, as well as those from the EU and further afield. At present, domestic students account for around 40% of those that the company serves with the other 60% coming from overseas.

International students are a particular point of concern for many universities at present. China, which sends more students to the UK than any other country, accounting for 106,530 students in 2017/18, has recently done much to improve its own higher education offering, creating more attractive degrees at home. The UK also compares unfavourably with countries such as Canada when it comes to visa terms for those who’ve graduated here, even accounting for the recent announcement that international students will be allowed to stay in the UK for two years after graduating.

Then there’s Brexit. Not only does Brexit have the ability to cause a drop in EU student numbers, it can also cause headaches for those establishments employing foreign teaching staff. Universities UK reports that 18% of the UK higher education sector’s total academic staff in 2017/18 had an EU nationality. And that’s not to mention the loss of EU research funding.

It’s no wonder that universities are doing all they can to support international students and increase their numbers. Part of this includes using services such as Housing Hand to help students deal with the chronic undersupply of suitable student housing in many UK cities and ensure that they can access safe, appropriate places to live.”

Saasha Verma, University Partnerships Manager, Housing Hand

The pain felt by universities as a result of international competition and domestic political pressures is exacerbated by potential fee cuts. Earlier this year, a landmark review commissioned by the government recommended that tuition fees be capped at £7,500, instead of the current rate of £9,250. Such a move would have a dramatic impact on the funding available to the UK’s higher education establishments and likely an inescapable knock-on effect on the quality of the courses on offer.

The UK’s universities have been turned into businesses – businesses that are trapped between government controls and deregulation. Competition is fierce, with the 450+ institutions struggling to find the flexibility to generate additional income.

“Housing Hand doesn’t have the power to solve every issue that our universities are facing, but when it comes to student welfare, we are here to help. Higher education faces a tough few years ahead, which is why a plethora of independent services are needed to work alongside the UK’s universities in order that they can remain attractive to bright young people from around the world.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

 

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/