If you’re a landlord in a university town or city, you’ve probably seen the potential in student rentals. There are plenty of advantages in renting to students. Having said this, there are some pretty awful issues you could encounter too. Are students really as bad as people make out? Is your investment safe with them? If you’re sat asking yourself ‘should I rent to students?’ we’ve got a little advice and guidance to help you find the right answer.
The Strange World of Students
Students can seem like an entirely different species. Thankfully, they’re actually pretty simple. For most, this will be their first time living in private accommodation. They’ll need a little hand holding but this tends to come from the parents. They’re often told to ask specific questions, they’ll be informed of what to say and they’ll pour plenty of time over their contract. They may take longer in the initial signing process but remain supportive and up-front – they just want to make sure you’re not a cowboy.
Usually students aren’t too fussy – they’ve heard the horror stories and are happy to find your property clean and warm. If you can offer a tidy and furnished house with warm running water, they’ll be content. However, there are some health and safety requirements that can’t be ignored!
Be warned though, not all students are the same. There are some very obvious cues worth noting. First of all, if you’re renting to a group of eight boys, all of which are on the university’s rugby team – expect lots of parties. Use your common sense with this one. You may well want to rent to a group like this, just know what to expect.
Party, Party, Party!
Right, let’s get this out in the open now. It’s very likely your student tenants will throw a party or at least invite friends over for a night of intoxicated fun. We highly recommend banning parties in the tenancy agreement – this is there more as a deterrent than something to enforce. The sooner you accept that parties will take place, the easier it will be letting to students.
Advantages of Renting to Students
There are some serious advantages that come with being a student landlord, here are some of the more notable points:
- Demand – If you own a property in the heart of a town/city’s student area, there will always be a demand for housing irrelevant of any ongoing economic difficulties.
- Duration – Students tend to rent for 12 month periods. No long term contract obligations.
- Predictability – The student rental market is one of the most predictable, always handy for landlords hoping to rest easy at night.
- Imperfections – The beauty of renting to students is that your property doesn’t need to be perfect.
- Furnishings – There’s no point investing in expensive furnishings. Head to Ikea and buy cheap.
- High yields – There’s often more students living in a house than there would be in a regular tenancy.
- Intelligence – Students by nature are intelligent (there are exceptions). This means any issues tend to be resolved relatively simply with open communication.
Disadvantages of Renting to Students
All sounding too good to be true? That’s because it is, there are some very clear drawbacks in renting to students:
- Furnishings – All students expect a fully furnished property which entails the upkeep and maintenance of white goods.
- Wear and tear – All student properties are more prone to wear and tear. Expect phone calls out of the blue about a broken sofa or bed.
- Repaint – We know plenty of student landlords that have to pay for a fresh lick of paint on the walls every year.
- Wannabee lawyer – Some students can get a bee in their bonnet about the contract. They’ll become adamant you’re trying to mess them over. The wannabee lawyer can be a particularly frustrating student to let to.
- Private halls – Private accommodation for second and third year students is on the rise. Usually students prefer the experience of living in a house with friends but private halls are a real threat that’s worth your attention.
- Maintenance bills – Maintenance bills are usually more expensive than those in a regular tenancy.
- Screening – You can’t reference or credit check students, this can be worrying.
- Finance – Students are notoriously poor with money. Their finances can come from student loans, grants, part-time jobs and parents. This instability can be a little frightening to landlords.
- Summer holiday – Depending on the tenancy agreement, you could experience void periods during the summer holiday.
Student Rental Action Points
So you’ve decided to take the dive and let to students? Here are a few action points to set you on your way:
- Go to a shop like Ikea or Argos to buy your furniture. Don’t spend much money on this at all, you want something cheap and cheerful.
- Get students to provide a guarantor, this will usually be their parents. Do this and you’ll get your money even if the student can’t pay up.
- Become a university approved landlord. There’s often a few checks needed but this is worth doing to market your student let.
- Hold your student’s hands. Remember, they’ve probably not done this before – help them. Reassure them throughout the process. Go a step further and include a welcome pack for when they move in. In this, you can feature a few rules and even instruct them on how to use the boiler, heating, washing machine, etc.
- Consider the possibility of dropouts. It’s worth including a clause in the tenancy agreement which states it’s the tenants’ responsibility to find a replacement housemate if one drops out.
- Licence your property as a HMO (house in multiple occupation). Local councils have differing regulations for this but it cannot be ignored.
Student lets are prone to sudden and dramatic damage. The inventory process is imperative with this type of let. Remove the stress and any potential disagreements with No Letting Go’s inventory services. Find out more about how we can help protect your property investment here.
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