Tips for renting to students
Many landlords will run a mile if you suggest they rent to students. Yet others build their business on renting to young people attending university. If you are a landlord in a university town the student market can be a rewarding one.
But if you're still undecided whether to become a student landlord or are considering taking the plunge, we've put together some tips on how you can make the experience painless for all. And profitable for you.
Why you should consider renting to students
Student tenants get a bad press. And fear of their property being trashed definitely puts off some landlords. Raucous parties, furniture destroyed, and decor ruined are the usual nightmares. But this is perhaps an outdated view.
Remember most students aren't exactly rolling in cash. They need to look after every penny. So they won't want to lose any of their deposit because they damaged the property. If anything money conscious students are more likely to take extra care of your property rather than causing damage.
The student market can also provide great returns for a landlord with a higher than usual yield. And a landlord should have little difficulty in finding tenants. Demand for rooms in areas near any university or college is always high and competition is fierce amongst students to find suitable accommodation.
Our top five tips for renting to students
1 Consider an HMO rather than a joint tenancy or a single let
An HMO benefits everyone. As a landlord, you will benefit from the much higher yield this type of rental provides. It also safeguards your income. Should one student fall behind in their rent payments you still have the cash flow from the other occupants.
Demand for this type of accommodation among students is high. Most don't want the expense of a single let and won't know other students when they arrive. A room in an HMO property will be ideal.
Another benefit for the tenant is that the student is only responsible for their own room and deposit. They won't lose out financially should another occupant damage their own room.
Of course there are downsides to an HMO. Principally the complications in setting it up and of managing multiple tenancies. But this is when a good letting agent becomes invaluable. They will handle everything for you. From finding the tenants, to sorting out the licence and collecting the rent.
2 Add extra facilities
The days of students being happy to flop in a rundown room a la Rising Damp are long gone. Now they look at amenities in the house. Adding an extra bathroom in a shared house will be a big selling point. There is nothing worse for a bunch of students running late for a lecture than having to queue to use a single bathroom.
A tidy but low maintenance garden will also be a big hit. A patio is ideal. It’s much easier to look after than a lawn area and will be a popular with your tenants.
3 Location is important
The property should be within walking distance of the university. Anything up to 20 or 30 minutes will be ideal. Any further and the morning 'commute' will be too far for many students. Generally the nearer the university the better.
Some students will cycle to lectures rather than walk. Your tenants will appreciate a secure shed or outbuilding for storing their bicycles.
4 Check references
This is true for any tenant but it is important to check references.
Most students will not have rented before so won't have references from previous landlords. But do speak to their parents or guardian. Especially as they will usually be acting as guarantor.
If another relative or friend is acting as guarantor ask for references from that person too.
5 Help your tenants settle in
For most students university will be their first experience of living away from their parents. Help them out by giving them an orientation tour of the property. Explain how the appliances work and show them how to use the heating and locks.
Explain what their obligations are and how to keep the place clean. Leaving a box of cleaning products under the sink is a nice touch and will ensure your tenants have the tools to clean the place.
Show them how to use any garden equipment and make sure each tenant has your contact details in case of problems. Regular inspections will motivate your tenants to keep on top of cleaning and routine maintenance.
Establishing a positive relationship from the start is to everyone’s benefit. It is also a good business strategy.
Students are at university for at least three years and they will be as keen to find a good landlord as you are to find good tenants. A good experience in a nice property will have them wanting to come back every term. That means you could have your property fully let for years before you need to find new tenants.
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