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Unite Group extends 50% discount for students who can’t access rooms due to restrictions

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Unite Group PLC (LON:UTG) announced it has extended 50% rent discount for students as the UK stays in lockdown until March.

The FTSE 250 property owner will factor in a £15mln loss or 4p earnings per share in the current financial year.

READ: GCP Student Living offers free six-week rent if students don’t use rooms

This takes the total discount period to seven from four weeks as initially planned and it will be automatically applied to those who have paid for accommodation but couldn’t check in because of restrictions between January 18 and March 7.

These students will also be given a four-week complimentary extension of their tenancy agreement at the end of the academic year to extend their stay into the summer.

As of Wednesday, the firm said it has collected 91% of rent due to date for the 2020/21 academic year, while around half of checked-in students have now returned.

Students across the UK have been on rent strikes to protest against high university costs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, with many people stuck in yearly contracts even if they have not used their booked rooms because of lockdown.

“In our view the increased discount is not a surprise given the continuation of lockdown measures across the UK and we think a further rent reduction is likely with restrictions likely to remain in place for some weeks to come,” analysts at Liberum commented.

Shares slipped 3% to 951p on Wednesday morning.

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