Following the government implementation of ‘social distancing’ in the UK to minimise the spread of Coronavirus and protect the NHS, I was pleased to see that PBSA investors and operators are leading the market, responsibly offering their student tenants refunds for the remaining 2019/20 academic year. With strong financial situations, these prudent measures will not only assist in the practice of the government’s message, they will also enhance reputations at a time when some companies and sectors are coming under fierce criticism for failing to support the national effort to protect key workers and the vulnerable.
Despite the ongoing situation, the student sector appears to be well-positioned, with GCP reporting direct-let bookings for the 2020/21 academic year at an equivalent level to last year. Anecdotal evidence further supports this position, with international student interest increasing as countries begin to see positive results from control measures. The result is that whilst it remains to be seen how long ‘social distancing’ persists in the UK, its world renowned universities will ensure that it has a firm footing for when the situation improves.
Further updates on this news can be found in the links below:
Unite Students has said it will offer to forgo rent for students who choose to return home for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. It is estimated this will reduce the group’s cashflow by between £90m and £125m during 2020.