The Codes were developed in response to concerns raised by a number of organisations, including NUS, about management standards within the expanding new sector of privately owned and managed student accommodation.

Following some initial discussions in 2002, ANUK, NUS and Unipol formed a consortium in 2004 and began to devise a Code for private sector accommodation providers. Discussions were held with a number of private providers, some of whom agreed to become founding members of the Code. These were: Liberty Living; Opal; Unite and Victoria Hall

Meetings were also held with other interested stakeholders, such as ASRA and CUBO, who suggested developing a Code for accommodation managed by universities and colleges as well.

The Codes were formally launched in November 2004, at an event hosted by Universities UK, and the first membership year began in 2005 - with around 50,000 bed spaces covered.

During the passage of what became the 2004 Housing Act, Government expressed some interest in recognising Codes of Practice/Standards within the scope of this legislation. It therefore awarded ‘Approved’ status to both of the ANUK/Unipol Codes in 2006 (and did the same for the Code operated by Universities UK).

By 2007 it had become clear that the ANUK/Unipol Code for Educational Establishments was in need of some revision in order to better reflect the standards that managers of University and College accommodation were aspiring to. A review was carried out and a revised Code received Government approval in August 2008.

Both of these Codes have ‘Approved’ status under Section 233 of the 2004 Housing Act, which requires local housing authorities to “except” (exempt) accommodation operated by Educational Establishments from mandatory HMO Licensing. However, accommodation operated by non- Educational Establishments is not “excepted”.

The above legislation only applies to England, and different requirements exist in Wales and Scotland. However, where a provided has signed-up to the National Codes, their requirements apply to purpose-built student accommodation throughout the whole of the UK.

A review of the ANUK/Unipol Code for Non Educational Establishments was conducted in 2015/16 and a revised version came into effect from May 2016. That Code is now currently being reviewed again and the revised version is likely to be operational from January 2021

A review of the Code for Educational Establishments was last undertaken in 2018 and it became operational from September 2019.