The key tips student landlords should know
Many students will be looking to head off to university this September and move into their rented student accommodation.
Despite the ‘student stereotype’ renting to students is an attractive option for landlords that can result in good rental yields and straightforward annual contracts.
However, as with any tenant, it is important to get everything right from the start to avoid problems further down the line.
What do students want from a property?
Student tenants often have different requirements than your average ‘working professional’. As a landlord it can seem a daunting prospect to equip your property to best suit the needs of your student tenants and make your property stand out from others in the area.
Student tenants are often looking for a number of different features to make their accommodation feel like home. This includes;
High speed Wi-Fi included
Internet access is a vital commodity for students and in a digital world really should be included in student accommodation. Most university degrees will require students to submit work and contribute to their course online so a student house missing vital internet access will likely put off many potential tenants. Therefore a stable and high speed internet connection is not to be missed!
Every student wants to socialise with their friends! When setting off for university many students are leaving their family for the first time and so creating a social environment for them to enjoy can be a major plus point for your property. Having good quality furniture can also really make a difference to students looking for their perfect accommodation. Consider investing in good quality staple items which are not only appealing to students and give them plenty of space to socialise but can withstand any wear and tear throughout the year.
Long gone are the days when a small single bed was sufficient in a student property. Students are now looking for more spacious living arrangements including the addition of double beds in the properties they rent. They often double up as a study area and movie spot for students at the end of the working day.
Minimising damage in a student property
As with any home wear and tear is a natural consequence of tenants living in a property full time.
As a student landlord however there are certain key steps you can take to minimise the damage within your property.
Carry out a reference check
Carrying out good tenant referencing is a great way of reducing the risk of rent arrears and other unwanted behaviour in your property. It helps to provide piece of mind that your tenants are who they say they are and dissuade any further problems. In terms of student tenants, it is best practice to make sure they have a guarantor as it is likely they will not have a steady source of income while they are busy studying.
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Build relationships with your tenants
Building up a good relationship with your tenants can be mutually beneficial. Educating your tenants can help to avoid major problems in the property, for example reminding tenants to keep the property adequately heated when going home for the winter holidays can help to avoid a burst pipe. Tenants may also be more likely to notify you of problems and call you straight away reducing the amount of damage that your property endures over the tenancy.
Why not also provide your student tenants with an end of tenancy checklist to ensure that they understand the expectations when they vacate the property.
mydeposits, sister company to Hamilton Fraser, has a series of expert advice guides for tenants that landlords can pass onto their tenants that may help to reduce deposit disputes at the end of the tenancy.
- Get your deposit back – blu-tack facts
- Get your deposit back – Looking after the garden
- Top tips for keeping your property in good condition
- How to discuss deposit deductions with your landlord or agent
- Preparing in advance for deposit disputes
Keep the property in a good working order
A well-maintained property signifies that the landlord cares. Student tenants will be more likely to take good care of well-presented property than one which is in a poor state of repair from the outset.
Importance of an inventory
Don’t forget to include an inventory and check in report as part of the moving in process. These documents include a comprehensive schedule of the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy, including contents, fixtures and cleanliness. This can be compared to a check out report at the end of the tenancy to ensure the property is returned in the same condition. Make sure this is signed by all tenants. You can find out more about inventory management here.
It can also be beneficial to insert extra clauses into your tenancy agreement to cover yourself and the property. This can include a ‘nuisance’ clause to protect neighbours from unreasonable noise levels or clauses specific to the property such as garden maintenance. This way both you, and your tenants know where you stand.
Student landlord insurance
Often students get bad press from insurers as they deem students more likely to cause damage to your property. However, more often than not, this is unfounded. Despite this accidents unfortunately do happen and so it is a good idea to cover your property for any eventuality with a student landlord insurance policy.
At Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance we don’t treat student tenants any differently – in fact, we can accommodate all types of tenants with no difference in cover or price.
Find out more about our comprehensive student landlord insurance, and how you can protect your property.
As a landlord there is a lot to consider when letting out your property, especially to specific types of tenants. Find out more about your legal obligations, and get it right from the start, with our comprehensive guide on ‘How to ensure that you are compliant with current regulation’.
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