The National Codes of Standards are schemes which:
- providers of larger student developments voluntarily join and in doing so commit themselves to maintaining a minimum set of professional standards for their accommodation and their accommodation management
- enable providers of this kind of accommodation to show that they follow professional standards of service, and to badge themselves accordingly
- provide a yardstick to help students work out management and property standards
- have established a system for verifying that standards are actually being complied with.
The purpose of the Codes is to provide housing suppliers (owners and managers) and their tenants with a framework of transparent undertakings about how they are going to do business with one another.
Large developments occupy an important place in the supply of student accommodation. A third of students live in purpose-built student accommodation (loosely called halls of residence) and 39% of students live in halls provided by private suppliers (either through nominations agreements through their educational institution or by direct letting themselves). Larger student developments bring with them particular management issues, which demands specialist handling and which the Codes take account of in the setting of standards.
The standards chosen for the Codes reflect a balance of common sense obligations and responsibilities between landlords and tenants. They also reflect established best practice in the sector and are based on what an average student and their parents would expect of a good quality housing supplier. The standards are supported by the voice of students themselves through the National Union of Students.
For both landlords and tenants, Code compliance means that:
- both parties can enjoy the benefits of good standards of housing management and practice
- misunderstandings and disputes are reduced
- where problems do occur, they can be promptly resolved.
There are two Codes: one for developments owned and managed by education establishments and one for developments managed by private operators. The purposes and objectives are the same but they address the specific needs and characteristics of the two different types of provider.
Members of these Codes are required to identify which Code they are signed-up to, and to advertise this within appropriate developments that they operate as well as on property adverts and information supplied to tenants. The Codes are actively and positively promoted among students searching for housing.
The ANUK/Unipol National Codes are supported by the National Union of Students (NUS), the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the Welsh assembly, the Accreditation Network UK (ANUK), the Association for Student Residential Accommodation (ASRA), the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Officers (CIEH), the Association of College and University Business Officers (CUBO), Universities UK (UUK). Its secretariat is based in Leeds.