Happy New Year, and welcome back to your monthly National Code update.

Information and Advice on Coronavirus in Student Accommodation for Housing Supplier – Further Updates

Extensive updates have been made to the information and advice on coronavirus in student accommodation for housing suppliers page. Newer content includes:

  • Students Returning to Higher Education for the Spring Term
  • The UK Student Accommodation Forum – Spring Programme
  • What are Students Doing in respect of their Accommodation
  • 2021 Rent Refunds

Other new additions to the National Code website include a dedicated Complaints Data page, and a record the Verifications Visits undertaken since 2018.

Code Renewal Deadline

Every 3 years, all National Code members are required to rejoin the Code. The next 3 year cycle begins at the of January 2021. A copy of the new Code can be viewed here.

Members are reminded that the final deadline for the return of your new declaration is 31st January 2021.

Further information on re-joining and some important changes to the Code can be consulted on the National Code website.

New Buildings 2021 and Late Buildings Protocol

An article has now been published giving an overview of the improvements made across the sector with regards to responding to late buildings in 2020. The article can be viewed here.

Under the revised Code, section 3 now contains specific requirements in regards to late construction:

3.7 Where a development is new, or undergoing refurbishment and the building programme is running late and where this may result in pre-let rooms not being ready for occupancy, they will abide by the requirements of the New and Refurbished Buildings Protocol (Appendix 4 to this Code) in respect of informing future occupants of this and of the possible consequences this will have for them and from whom at the provider they can access help with this matter. The provider will also notify the National Code Administrator of this within one working day of the tenants having been notified, and what action they will be taking in respect of this. They will also notify the developer (and any other relevant parties) that they are taking this action and that this may result in the provider ceasing to market the accommodation;

If you are opening any new buildings for the start of the 2021 academic year and haven’t yet notified the National Code, please email j.ca[email protected].

Complaints Overview

The National Code is receiving a higher number of complaints than compared with previous years. However, there is some indication that COVID related complaints are beginning to ‘level off’. This is possibly due to a number of providers announcing their stance on rent refunds and tenancy release. Below is a summary of the complaints by category that the National Code has received between 1/9/2021-20/1/2021:

Seeks release / refund

42

Condition upon arrival

10

Repairs

10

Customer Service

8

Contract / rent

6

Deposit

6

Covid-19  Release 2019-20

4

Covid-19  Restrictions

4

Possessions disposed of

3

Covid-19 ASB / risks

2

Noise / ASB

2

Construction work

1

Damp/mould

1

Late building

1

Many and various breaches

1

Pests / Rodents

1

Grand Total

102

For guidance or questions regarding complaints, please email Code Complaints Investigator Vic Peckitt [email protected]

The UK Student Accommodation Forum 2021 Programme

Unipol has established an online set of Zoom meetings entitled The UK Student Accommodation Forum. These events are free and attended by participants from across the accommodation sector and Government. These are short 1 hour meetings held between 11.00am and midday and consist of two expert contributions (about 10 minutes each) followed by general discussion. Any “issues of the moment” also gets a 10-minute slot.

After the success of our first event ‘2021 – a new year?’, the Spring programme will be available to book on to shortly, keep an eye on Unipol's Training and Events Page for further details.

Mailing list on National Code Website

To receive the National Code Newsletter notification directly, and for information on upcoming events such as the Student Accommodation Fourm, please head to the National Code website, and sign up for our mailing list at the bottom of the page.