As a lettings agent for the past several years, I am fully aware of the preconception landlords have towards renting to students. I would always get the same answer (no) when asking the question “will you consider students?” So, I decided to have a go at one myself and have never looked back, in fact I now generally only let to Students.
I find renting to students very reliable and due to the lack of available properties also very lucrative, to date I’ve had no major issues from any of my Student Tenants.
If you are emotionally unattached to your letting property then why does it matter who rents it? The main concern is to get it let, obtain a steady income with minimal issues and maximize return.
During my time as both Landlord and Agent I have had many “perfect“ Tenants, the ones who have the perfect profession, have amazing salaries and present themselves well at viewings, that have ended up paying rent late and have left properties dirty and damaged.
The main misconception is that Students will trash the place, yes you might have a bit more cleaning to do at the end of tenancy and yes they might have a couple more parties than the average Tenant but managed in the right way will ensure your students behave and respect the property they are living in like any other Tenant would.
When you are renting a property as a house share you have got to expect to put your hand in your pocket at the end of each term, I always have properties/bedrooms professionally cleaned in between Tenancies and there is often a bit of general maintenance to carry out. The gain overrides the loss as you are receiving a much greater rent to let it out in this way. It is unrealistic to believe as a landlord that you do not need to give a bit back yourself and spend a little bit of money when its needed.
Tonya’s Top Tips
To run a successful student house follow these simple rules….
- Referencing Guarantors
When you rent to a student ensure that you obtain a UK based, working guarantor that will sign an agreement to say that they will pay the rent if tenant fails to do so. I never rely on student finance as this could change or could be spent. Most students do not want you calling Mum or Dad to say the rent hasn’t been paid and is rarely something I need to do. If a student does not have a UK based guarantor then I would recommend payment upfront for the term, most overseas students are aware if this and will expect to have to pay a lump sum.
- House Rules
I have a lengthy document that all my Tenants sign which forms part of their AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) if you do not spell this out at the beginning it will be hard to police part way through. Make it very clear what type of Tenants you want in the property and what will and won’t be tolerated.
Just because they are students doesn’t mean they want to live in a dive so decorate and clean the house as you would if you were renting to professionals. If you let it out in a dirty and worn condition you could attract tenants with lower standards that most probably won’t look after it during Tenancy (not that you deserve it to be looked after if you’re not prepared to let it out nicely in the first place) Give them a home they can be proud of, that they want to keep clean and show off to their mates.
- Regular Property Inspections
This is so important when renting to students. I recommend inspecting communal areas every month and bedrooms every 3 months as minimum. The more you are there the more you can control and avoid. Students can sometimes be a little too laid back in reporting maintenance so these visits will also ensure that any maintenance is picked up early. After your visit send letters/emails if you have spotted any issues so you can keep on top of it, it’s also important to give credit when its due and say thank you to Tenants for keeping the property clean and tidy will go a long way.
Regular contact is crucial. I once took on a student house where the Tenants had built a bar in the lounge, they told me that the Landlord had not visited once in 3 years!
Communicate with your students like you would any of your other Tenants, you want their trust and respect. In larger houses organize quarterly meetings so the Tenants can discuss any issues or any requests they may have. This will go a long way and if you treat your Tenants well they will treat your property well.
- Landlord break clauses
Of course there is always a chance you may have a difficult Tenant so I would always recommend a Landlord break clause at 6 months. I always put a two month break clause in mine that can be served on the 4th month of the Tenancy but, I can say I have only had to use this once. The minimum term is always 6 months.
The break clause can be used as a little reminder to Tenants that they might be asked to leave if they are showing signs of trouble and will often deter them from bad behaviour.
Provide detailed inventories of bedrooms that the Tenants sign, in a house share it is easy to control deposit deduction within the bedroom as this is the responsibility of the individual Tenant. Communal areas are tricky though, I always provide a communal inventory however these areas actually fall to the landlord’s responsibility and it is in fact the landlord’s duty to keep these cleaned and maintained. It is near on impossible to find blame of a damaged item in communal areas (unless someone owns up to it which in some cases they have) if they don’t you will just have to swallow it. It’s also not fair to split the cost between all tenants and that will just upset your relationship with the rest of them and the ones that do keep the property well.
Of course when renting a property out as a house in multiple occupancy (HMO) there are lots of rules and legislation you must follow to rent your property out legally and to regulation. It’s important to check with your local council what the minimum standards are and if you need to apply for a licence.
You will always have a little more cleaning and little more maintenance in between Tenancies when renting to student but this is generally worthwhile for the extra rent you will receive. There are lots of students that are prepared to pay very good rents and the demand for student accommodation is at an all-time high.
So, I’m all for renting to students and I hope this blog has made you open to the idea.