Looking to rent out your property to students? It’s not a bad idea. For starters, student rentals have been a massively growing market here in the UK – to the extent student landlords have been outperforming their property peers for years now.
It’s no wonder when you learn that there are one million students in the UK living away from home, according to the 2015 Student Accommodation Annual Report .- a roughly 50/50 divide between British and International students.
Secondly, if your property is located in a thriving university or college town then you’ll have a regular stream of students occupying your rooms over time. In fact, it’ll get to the stage where you probably won’t even have to advertise, with students passing on knowledge of soon-to-let flats at the student union bar/coffee shop.
So, once you’ve established student property is a good market in which to operate, what next? Well we’d advise taking a look through the following 7 points before finally making up your mind that the role of student landlord scores top marks in your own book:
- Always get a guarantor. Even if the student is from a very wealthy family (and many overseas students are), it’s essential to know that you’ll get your money if the offspring turns out to be terrible at managing their grant.
- Check out the competition. Just because there are several universities/colleges in the city, it doesn’t mean there’ll be an unprecedented demand for accommodation. Some of those seats of learning may just be planning to create their own accommodation block or a modern student pod-style development may be set to go up literally just round the corner.
- Get to know the market. Gone are the days of leaking loos, ceilings needing constantly patched up and windows that won’t open. We’re no longer living in the era of Young Ones-style student flats anymore. Council Environment Health departments insist on inspections and students themselves can be pretty picky these days.
- Look over HMO legislation. In many areas a property with three or more tenants will be classed as a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO). Council’s vary in terms of their application process and guidelines on accommodation. There are also a number of inspections that have to be carried out throughout the tenancy.
- Decide on your involvement. Fancy being a hands-on landlord who goes out to check leaks and blocked guttering every now and then? Then invest in a large period property. Landlords who prefer to get on with their day job as it were and leave the management to a property company would be better investing in one of those new student pod-style developments we mentioned earlier.
- Get IT savvy. Not only will you be expected to provide Wi-Fi in the property as standard, but most students will also favour electronic means to pay their rent (most will never have seen a cheque book in their lives). With so many tenants, it’s always a good idea to get an HMO software programme. This allows you to record payments in individual accounts and will notify you when inspections are due.
- Be flexible with leases. What makes students different from every other class of tenant is the fact they’re around for just nine months of the year. That means you have to find someone else to rent the property for those three months or suffer a long void period. You could offer the students a lower rent for the holiday months and allow them to store their belongings there for next year if they don’t want to take a year’s lease.
Students may have a reputation for being party animals but we’re not so sure that is quite as relevant these days. With many painfully aware of the £9k it’s costing them to fund their studies, it seems it really does pay stay indoors and be a party pooper. As a result where students are living has becoming increasingly important to them. Lucky for you as landlord!