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Today in politics: Students and latest ONS data

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

The government is continuing to ask landlords to ‘show sympathy’ to student tenants, while the ONS publishes its latest figures on the impact of coronavirus on the housing market.

Student landlords encouraged to ‘show sympathy’

Afzal Khan MP (Labour, Manchester Gorton) has received a response to his written question asking what plans the Government has to provide (a) financial and (b) other support to students who have lost income and are struggling to pay rent in the private sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

Housing Minister, Christopher Pincher MP, responded: “We understand that some students are facing financial difficulties as a result of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

“Students will have received scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year and the process for issuing loans for the next academic year, 2020/2021, will proceed as normal. 

“In addition, students on a PAYE contract, for example those who have a part time job, may have access to support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

“Many higher education (HE) providers maintain hardship funds, which can be used where necessary. 

“As part of the HE stabilisation package, the government has worked closely with the Office for Students to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19.

“If a student thinks they will have difficulty meeting a rental payment, they should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity to allow both parties to agree a workable way forward. 

“We encourage landlords to be sympathetic to tenants who may be struggling during this time and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

ONS stats show sales down

The Office for National Statistics has published a note on housing indicators during the coronavirus period, showing sales are down by half on 2019.

Of note:

  • Residential property transactions (based on Stamp Duty Land Tax records) in England, for April and May 2020, were around half that shown for the same months in 2019.
  • Residential Land Transaction Tax transactions in Wales fell in April and remained low in May 2020.
  • The number of property transactions currently recorded by HM Land Registry for February and March 2020 is lower than in 2019 in both England and Wales, but this is likely because of delays in recording.
  • There was a large decrease in the number of Energy Performance Certificate lodged in April 2020, followed by rises in May and June across England and Wales.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

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