As we approach the end of one of the most extrodinary and busy first semesters ever, there are a few key updates from the National Codes. Merry Christmas!

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 Spring term
  • Christmas arrangements
  • Student movement and plans for the end of term
  • Observations and experiences so far
  • House Hunting for 2021-2022
  • Rent refunds
  • The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) fire safety guidance regarding COVID-19

Upcoming Event - UK Student Accommodation Forum

The next UK Student Accommodation Forum will be held on Thursday 17th December 11 AM-12 PM and the theme is Going and Coming - How did the arrangements for students leaving for the end of term work out and what plans are there for return in January 2021?

The event will begin with a short update briefing, and will also report on the National Codes survey looking at how well universities and private providers are keeping each other informed about developments and needs.

Guest speakers for this session:

  • Jordan Meates – Campus Services Manager, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Michael Lees – Head of Campus Services, Nottingham Trent University

To book your place and for more information, head to:

PBSA/University Communications Survey – The Headlines

The National Codes undertook a survey of building managers to find out how Universities have been communicating with private providers of PBSA (and whether this has improved) during the pandemic. Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey, there was a fantastic response with over 150 people from a range of providers sharing their experiences.     

Initial findings indicate:

  • Providers with nominations and/or other agreements reported better relationships and consistent communication with their respective Universities during the pandemic and throughout the current term
  • A large number of private providers (covering both those with and without nominations and other agreements) were not informed by Universities about their end of terms plans for testing and Christmas
  • A number of private providers without nominations and/or other agreements find it more difficult to engage with and maintain regular communications with their local Universities, often citing communication to be one-sided or wholly non-responsive

Complaints Received Under the National Code – Overview

The National Codes are still receiving roughly double the amount of complaints compared to the same period last year. 75 complaints and enquiries have been received since September, with over a quarter of these relating to tenancy release and a common theme of poor mental health within complaints.

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

Mental Health in the Student Population

There have recently been a number of press articles noting how the pandemic and returning to University in the time of COVID-19 has  impacted on student mental health.

According to data from the National Union of Students, 50% of students say their mental health has declined since the pandemic began, with many citing an increase in loneliness, anxiety and depression. Many students reported that they aren’t getting enough sleep, and feelings of self-esteem and achievement are low.

Student wellbeing and mental health may well be a major factor for January returns, and this must be taken into consideration when communicating with students.

Full details of the NUS survey results can be found here.

The National Codes are looking to run specific events relating to student mental health and wellbeing. If there are any topics in particular members would like events to be based upon, please email [email protected]