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03 Feb 2021 | 07:41

Unite extends 50% student discount

(Sharecast News) - Unite said on Wednesday that it was extending its 50% discount to students in light of current lockdown restrictions and that the move will cost the student accommodation provider £15m. The company originally announced a four-week discount on 11 January. This has now been extended for a further three weeks to 8 March. In addition, eligible students will 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.

The loss of rental income associated with the additional discount is up to £6m, Unite said, equivalent to 1.5p of EPRA earnings per share for the 2021 financial year. The discount and tenancy extension will cost the group up to £15m.

Unite also provided a brief update on trading, saying it has 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," it said.

"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."

Chief executive officer Richard Smith said the company recognises "this is a challenging time for students", hence the discount extension.
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