Many landlords have heard horror stories of student housing tenants – and perhaps even have some memories of not being the tidiest of tenants themselves!
However, there may be some real value in tapping into this booming market and letting to students. The price of purpose-built student housing has soared over the past seven years in the UK, meaning many students are moving off campus to look for accommodation alternatives such as private housing. If you are weighing the pros and cons of having student rooms to rent, consider the following:
Advantages of a student tenant
There are plenty of reasons why students make good tenants:
- Ongoing demand. In 2015, there was a record number of students in higher education in the UK, and as people will always want to attend university, there will always be a pool of tenants ready and waiting to put in an application for housing.
- Low expectations. This tenant demographic typically doesn’t need much more than basic board, making them less fussy than perhaps a family or professional would be. For many students, this property will be the first they’ve ever rented, so that alone is something a novelty! In all likelihood, there will be more focus on pulling all-nighters, cramming and socialising than there will be on the finer points of the property.
- Rent by the room. You can split up the property by advertising individually student rooms to rent as opposed to a full house, which can mean you can potentially receive higher rent.
- Short rental periods. If you should find yourself with some particularly messy, noisy or otherwise nuisance tenants, you can look forward to them leaving at the end of the year.
Disadvantages of a student tenant
- Maintenance and repairs. Speaking of sloppy students, you may find that a property filled with students requires more maintenance and cleaning in between tenancy turnovers, the costs of which you should account for when budgeting and determining rent.
- Tenant screening. As undergraduate students may not be able to provide credit references and/or references from previous landlords, you may wish to have guarantors sign the lease to protect your rental income.
- Vacancy rates. If you have students who return home during the summer months, you may encounter vacancy periods. Depending on the location and condition of your property, you can always try short-term solutions such as AirBnB to cover your losses.
In busy, bustling university towns, it’s not unusual for demand to outstrip the supply, which can result in some great returns on investment. For example, the average rental yield in Brighton is 5pc – 7.5pc, higher than the national average of 4.17 pc. Generally speaking, this easy-to-please group of tenants will stir up plenty of demand in popular university areas, making these cities smart choices for investors.