Renting to students – dos and dont's
If you listen to some sources, you’d think there was a war between students and landlords. Students complain of substandard accommodation, money-grabbing letting agents and mouldy rooms. Landlords complain of late rent payments, damage to property and unrealistic expectations.
However, it is possible for the landlord-student tenant relationship to be a happy one. Follow these top tips to help you start on the right footing.
- Research your market
Students tend to want housing close to their university or college, with easy access to shops, pubs and nightlife. If you purchase a rental property in the right area, filling it will be no problem. Check the ads to see where most student housing is based in your city to help scout a location.
- Get guarantors
Students are learning to stand on their own two feet, but they may have the odd slip with financial planning along the way. Make sure you have guarantors in place, such as a parent or guardian, to cover the rent if things go awry. Loss of rent insurance will give you extra peace of mind.
- Use a student-friendly tenancy agreement
Students will want a shorthold tenancy agreement and they usually have no scope to be flexible about moving in dates. Landlords should accommodate this and understand the times when students will be looking for housing, too – they are likely to agree a contract in the spring and disappear over the summer.
- Calculate your profits
There is huge variety in the yield offered by a student rental property. Do your research and factor in the annual turnover of students, likelihood of damage and so forth to ensure you do not make a poor investment.
- Skip the inventory
If you have an inadequate inventory or fail to make one at all at the start of the tenancy, you may lose out if there is any disagreement about deposit deductions. A full and detailed inventory with photos is a must for all student landlords.
- Expect full references
Older tenants should be able to provide landlords with references from former landlords or employers. Students, on the other hand, won’t have this historical information. A guarantor is the next best thing in this instance, so make sure one is in place before the rental starts.
- Disrespect tenants
Students are paying tenants with legal rights, and there are consequences if you fail to provide housing that is safe and suitable for human habitation. It pays to be fair and courteous to students; a bad review of your services on social media could have a disastrous impact on your ability to find tenants in future.
- Forget to get insurance
Student lets come with their own specific set of risks and responsibilities, so it’s smart to take out a policy that will protect your interests. The right cover will protect against significant damage to the property, failure to pay rent, structural damage and liability for accidents within the house.
Being a good student landlord is about using good sense and securing protection in case the worst happens. By being responsible and approachable you will head off most problems – but the right insurance policy is vital to protect your assets if something goes wrong.