Letting to Students: Things for Landlords to Consider

By on Saturday, January 4th, 2014 in Uncategorizedd.

The student rental market can be a lucrative one for landlords to step into. With around 772,000 people enrolling into university last year, it would be fair to say that many will have sought out some form of rented accommodation.The number is in fact set to grow ever larger as the government pushes for more people to attend higher education if they are able.It seems then, that there is a solid, dependable market where student accommodation is concerned.However, before landlords decide to dive head first into this area of the rental sector there are a number of things to consider which are unique to student lettings.

Cover yourself
It is wise for all landlords to consider taking out a special insurance policy when renting to students. One type that is certainly a ‘must have’ is empty house insurance.At least four months of the year, your property is likely to be completely devoid of student activity. This is generally split into two periods – Christmas and Summer.Most students will head home for a full month during the festive period to be with their families, and most will move out at the beginning of summer, leaving your property empty.There are also term breaks, reading weeks and the possibility that everyone could go home on the same weekend to consider.An empty house is a vulnerable one for a multitude of reasons, make sure yours is protected properly – it could save a lot of hassle in the long run.

Obtain the correct documentation
Most students will live in a house in multiple occupation (HMO). According to Prime Location around 680,000 full time students currently live in this way. This means anyone looking to let in this manner must obtain an HMO license.You can get this from the local authority in your area. To comply, a landlord is required to meet certain fire safety and accommodation standards.It is important to remember that modifications you make to cater to the student rental sector, could devalue the property in the owner occupier market.

Draw up an inventory
With student life comes certain perks. One of those being a student loan and plenty of free time to spend it. Many will take advantage of this by having a drink or five and sometimes this can lead to damaged property. To make sure you are not left out of pocket you can do two things, one is drawing up an inventory and second, ensure you take a deposit.The deposit should outline the condition of everything within the house such as furniture and fixtures. It should also include the current state of the walls, carpet, bathroom, kitchen etc.Then at the end of the tenancy you can deduct any damage costs out of the deposits. Not all students are the same, but it is very wise to protect yourself anyway.

Get rent upfront

Student loans and subsidising parents often mean that students are able to pay for a terms rent up front. In fact this is very common in the sector and most landlords insist on this type of payment.If one tenant drops out or leaves the property you will have the rent to cover you while you search for a new tenant. Incidentally, some landlords like to create a contract stating that the other occupants are responsible for filling a vacant room should one of them leave prematurely.