Student Accommodation

This section looks at issues in relation to 'student lettings'. In particular it explains the rights of tenants in student lettings to give notice as a result of emergency provisions brought in during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This content applies to Scotland

Introduction: student housing

Many students rent from a private landlord either on their own or as part of a flatshare. In such cases advisers should check the relevant section based on the type of tenancy held.

Where this is unclear advisers can use the tenancy checker tool.

However, halls of residence and purpose-built student accommodation are excluded from the statutory tenancy types. As such, the rights of students living in these types of accommodation depend mainly on the terms in their contract and on common law.

Student lettings: right to terminate tenancy

Between 27 May 2020 and 1 July 2022, a tenant of a ‘student letting’ had the legal right to give notice to their landlord to end their tenancy. [1] This was a statutory right which applied even if their written contract says notice cannot be given.

After 1 July 2022, this legal right is no longer in force. [2]

Definition of student letting

When referring to ‘student lettings’ in this context, the legislation defines these as student accommodations which are currently excluded from being a private residential tenancy. [3] Broadly, these are halls of residence and purpose-built student accommodation owned by private providers.

Student lettings are defined as either:

  • Lettings to students, where the student is renting accommodation from their educational establishment. These include halls of residence for most universities, central institutions, designated institutions, further education colleges, colleges of education and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. If there is uncertainty the legislation provides a comprehensive list, [4] or

  • Purpose-built accommodation owned by private providers where: [5]

    - Planning permission was given for the property on the basis that the let property would be used predominantly for housing students and

    - The landlord lets or is entitled to let other buildings in the same complex and

    - The let property and other properties include at least 30 bedrooms and

    - The landlord uses or intends to use the other properties predominately for the purpose of housing students

Students in other tenancy types

The new legislation does not affect students who live other tenancy types, for example students who live in a private residential tenancy or short assured tenancy.

For information on notice requirements for these tenancy types see the relevant page or pages in the section on Security of Tenure.

Last updated: 1 July 2022

Footnotes

  • [1]

    s.9(1)-(4) Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020

  • [2]

    para.2 sch.1 Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020, as amended by the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No. 2) Act 2020 (Suspension: Termination of Student Residential Tenancy) Regulations 2022

  • [3]

    para.1(1) sch.1 Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020

  • [4]

    para.5 sch.1 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

  • [5]

    para.5(4) sch.1 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016