Renting to Students
Landlords with properties in university towns and areas should be aware of how to best accommodate the needs of student tenants, with as little friction as possible. There are benefits and drawbacks to every type of tenant. The key is understanding their unique needs and being flexible.
It’s a common cliché to assume that every student out there will inflict severe damage to a property and throw loud parties, and, at haart, we don’t believe this to be true. Students will spend a significant portion of their outgoing on rent alone and many students will also be keen on protecting their deposit, which means they’re more likely to view your property as an investment than a place to party.
Why should I rent to students?
There are a few reasons why letting to students can often be more profitable than traditional tenants:
- Student areas provide strong and consistent demand and competition for available properties
- A student tenancy typically lasts for a minimum of 12 months, meaning less stress for you finding new tenants
- They maximise your property’s earning potential – a two or three bedroom-property can house up to three students
- Students tend to mind less about older furniture or outdated bathroom suites – it’s not a long-term home for them
Try to consider things from a student’s situation. Moving to university is often the first time where many people have to take on more responsibility with regards to what they do with their time and money. The initial freedom can be liberating, but they may not be best educated on how to use it.
Which types of property are suitable for students?
There are different types of student, but for traditional situations (people aged between 18-25) a property with around three bedrooms and with large communal spaces is best. It would also help if there was more than one toilet or bathroom. Gardens are a benefit, as well as good transport links to the nearest campus.
Should landlords consider an HMO (Homes of Multiple Occupancy)?
A common worry for many student renters is that things may go wrong with their housemates, rather than with the house itself. Some may prefer being solely responsible for their own room and deposit instead of joint responsibility. An HMO contract makes much more sense for students, as it pushes them to be responsible for their own money, credit score and actions. It also makes it easier to sublet during the summer holidays. Should the worst occur, replacing one tenant is easier than an entire houseful.
See the licensing schemes available for landlords around HMOs here.
What furnishing should I provide for students?
Student tenants will often expect a property to be fully or at least part-furnished. This is because the accommodation will be temporary for them (if only for the duration of their course) and it isn’t cost-effective for students to buy furniture while they study (even if they work this will be part-time).
If you are intending to rent your property to students, consider providing the following:
- Washing machine
- Fridge freezer
- Desk and chair for each room
- Hoover/some basic cleaning products
- Lawn mower
- Bins – check with the council to see which they provide in the area
How can I be a good landlord for students?
Renting to students can bring up different situations for landlords when compared to renting to working professionals or families. As well as your standard responsibilities and obligations as a landlord, it’s important that you
- Lay out your expectations for home and garden maintenance
Only a select few student-renters will be experts in property maintenance, but it’s not that they aren’t willing to try. Check that your tenants know how to do the general maintenance that’s required; you need to provide all tools needed for garden work as well.
- Show transparency
Create a set of rules and make sure your tenants know the consequences of not following them. Show student tenants what you can do to assist them and be proactive where possible. For example, this could be confirming that you’ve secured their deposit. You must do this using an official scheme
- Provide clear explanations
By providing clear instructions on basic maintenance, you’ll lower the chances of tenants panicking later down the line and making the wrong decision. This could be topping up a boiler with low pressure or providing details of the specific lightbulbs required in your property. Be sure to explain changes in legislation that will affect your tenants or their tenancy. For example rent increases must be properly communication.
- Be reliable
Stick to what you say or do; many students would’ve heard countless stories of nightmare landlords by the time they move in, so proving how reliable you are early on will push them to return the favour. This could be something as simple as fixing a problem right away. Provide plenty of contact within the first month of tenancy to prove your reliability and the value of the contract.
Keep in touch with tenants about things they need or maintenance of the property. There are regulations around rights to access that prohibit you from simply turning up to inspect the property, so be sure to follow the rules and agree regular, casual check-ins if that’s something you and your tenants can work with.
What is the Rental Exchange Scheme?
This scheme allows tenants to securely connect their bank to Credit Ladder. The rent is then read and reported to Experian. This lets tenants build their credit score whilst paying their rent, an effective way of motivating them to pay on time. So think about whether this could be right for you.
How should I market my property to students?
At haart, we can help you find the perfect tenant with our perfect mix of technology and expert local knowledge. We can market your property in the right places. We’re also up to date on all the latest legislation, so can help you with anything you have questions about.
See our Management and Protection offering for your property.
Get in touch today and let haart help.