3 February 2021
THE UNITE GROUP PLC
('Unite Students', 'Unite', the 'Group', or the 'Company')
EXTENSION TO RENTAL DISCOUNT
Unite Students, the UK's leading owner, manager and developer of student accommodation, today announces an extension to its 50% rent discount for students, originally announced on 11 January. This takes the total discount period to seven weeks, in light of the Government's continuation of the UK's lockdown restrictions to 8 March 2021.
All eligible students who applied for the four-week 50% rent discount will now receive the additional three-week 50% discount automatically. In addition, eligible students will be given a 4-week complimentary extension of their tenancy agreement at the end of the academic year to extend their stay into the summer. The rental discount and tenancy extension will be available to all students checked-in but not living in their accommodation between 18 January and 7 March 2021. Approximately half of checked-in students have now returned to our buildings.
The loss of rental income associated with the additional three-week rental discount is up to £6 million, equivalent to 1.5 pence of EPRA EPS for the 2021 financial year. This further three-week extension results in a total cost for the seven-week rental discount and tenancy extension of up to £15 million or 4 pence.
We have now collected 91% of rent due to date for the 2020/21 academic year. This reflects successful term one rent collection of 96% and a positive start to term two rent collection at 84% to date. To be eligible for the seven-week rent discount, students are required to be up to date with their rental payments as of 14 February 2021.
The strong cash collection to date for term two means we retain headroom against all of our debt covenants, even after allowing for the maximum potential take-up of the seven-week rental discount.
Richard Smith, Unite Students Chief Executive Officer, commented:
"Supporting students has been our priority throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and we will continue to play our part during these exceptional circumstances. We recognise this is a challenging time for students, which is why we've extended our current 50% rent discount period.
"All our properties remain open for the tens of thousands of students who are still living in their accommodation, with our staff on hand to help. Our focus is on keeping all our students and our staff safe across all our properties.
"We also continue to work closely with our University partners and will review any material changes in the Government's guidance on Universities remaining open."
For further information, please contact:
Richard Smith / Joe Lister / Michael Burt Tel: +44 117 302 7005
Unite press office Tel: +44 7754 749 301
Justin Griffiths / Victoria Heslop Tel: +44 20 7250 1446
About Unite Students
Unite Students is the UK's largest owner, manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation, serving the country's world-leading Higher Education sector. We provide homes to 76,000 students across 180 properties in 27 leading University towns and cities. We currently partner with over 60 Universities across the UK.
Our people are driven by a common purpose: to provide a 'Home for Success' for the students who live with us. Unite's accommodation is safe and secure, high quality and affordable. Students live predominantly in ensuite study bedrooms, with rents covering all bills, insurance, 24-hour security and high-speed Wi-Fi. We also hold a five-star British Safety Council audit rating.
Founded in 1991 in Bristol, Unite Group is an award-winning Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), listed on the London Stock Exchange and a member of the FTSE 250 Index. Unite is invested in and operates two specialist funds and joint ventures with institutional investment partners: the £3 billion Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund (USAF) and the £1 billion London Student Accommodation Vehicle (LSAV).
For more information, visit:
Unite's corporate website www.unite-group.co.uk
The student site www.unitestudents.com