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Students: Housing

Department for Education written question – answered on 2nd October 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister for Local Government (Communities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of (a) regulation of purpose-built student accommodation providers and (b) safeguards for students affected by properties not being built in time for university starting dates.

Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister for Local Government (Communities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of delays in the provision of new purpose-built student accommodation beyond the start date of students' courses on (a) student well-being, (b) academic achievement of students and (c) taxpayer value for money.

Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Vice-Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Education)

Higher education (HE) providers are autonomous bodies, independent from government; government plays no direct role in the provision of student residential accommodation.

Each provider will be best placed to identify the needs of their particular student body and develop the services needed to support it. This includes the pastoral care, support and advice given to students affected by delays in provision of accommodation and any offers of alternative housing.

Universities UK and GuildHE run a Code of Practice for university managed student accommodation that includes safety standards, the landlord-tenant relationship, and health and wellbeing. In addition, Student housing charity Unipol runs Codes that student accommodation providers can join by agreeing to meet a set of benchmark standards relating to: the physical condition of the accommodation; management of the property; and the relationship between landlord and tenants. This includes a Code specifically for private providers of large student housing developments.

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