Letting your property to students can be an extremely lucrative opportunity for many, especially if you choose to rent in an area with a substantial student population, nevertheless it doesn’t come without its complications.
But fear not – today we will be taking a look at the 9 top tips that every student landlord should know, including measures that can be taken to protect all parties’ involved, new regulations that could impact you, how to advertise your property, and how to communicate effectively with your student tenants!
Embrace social media when it comes to listing your property
With more than 80% of students currently active on Facebook, and 75% of them regularly looking online for new accommodation, it is important to advertise your property on the appropriate platforms. Whilst you might receive some interest as a result of listing you property on traditional advertising mediums, you may benefit more from engaging with student-friendly platforms. You don’t need to go mad with hashtags and emojis; simply having an online presence is enough to attract student tenants.
Consider tenancy agreements
Typically, most student property investment landlords choose to offer a joint tenancy agreement, whereby all tenants sign the same agreement. This particular tenancy agreement protects you financially should one individual tenant fail to pay their rent or vacate the property without finding a replacement tenant.
With a joint tenancy agreement, the remaining tenants are responsible for paying the rent if an individual cannot. They are also liable to pay the rent of a tenant who has vacated, as well as finding an appropriate replacement. There are different types of tenancy agreements you can opt for, including an assured shorthold tenancy and a single tenancy.
Will bill payments be included within the cost of rent?
Most students will have gone through their entire life without paying a single bill, and therefore they won’t be familiar with the process. This is why many student tenants prefer to pay one amount that covers the cost of both rent and utilities, as opposed to individual payments. It may be worth altering your approach to accommodate the 70% of students who search for rental accommodation with inclusive bills.
Make tenants aware of damage deposits
All landlords should make sure that a damage deposit is put down by tenants to ensure that if the property was damaged or vandalised, residents would cover the cost of repairs. You should make tenants aware that they are fully responsible for cleaning and maintaining the property, as well as paying for any damage caused.
Should tenants fail to meet these expectations, they could face deductions from their deposit. For your sake and the sakes of your student tenants, it may be useful to outline some forms of damage that could result in deductions from their deposit.
Make sure your tenants protect their belongings
When embarking on their university journey, the last thing on a student’s mind is tenant legalities. It is therefore important to remind your student tenants that your insurance policy protects the items you own, and not their belongings. Notify tenants that they should take out their own contents insurance policy. If you plan to rent your property fully furnished, then remember that all your furniture needs to be insured as well as health and safety regulated.
You should also instruct your tenants on safety precautions such as locking the doors correctly, keeping windows shut when no one is in the property, etc. It may even be helpful to create a booklet of information that outlines some safety tips your tenants should be aware of.
Keep your insurance company up-to-date
If you are completely new to letting, then you should make sure that your insurance policy protects both your property and belongings, and you should disclose that you plan to rent to students throughout the academic year. If you already have a policy to protect your property in place, then you should communicate with your insurance company and amend your policy so that it is appropriate for student letting.
Don’t forget about your legal responsibilities
As a landlord, it is important to understand the various different legal responsibilities when it comes to letting a property, even more so when renting to students. In order to comply with the law, you must ensure that your student tenants obtain an exemption certificate so that neither you nor your tenants are liable to pay council tax.
As a student landlord, you must also apply for a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) license in order to avoid steep fines. You must have a HMO license if you let your property to 5 or more people forming two or more separate households, and most of the time student housing meets this specific criteria.
There are also responsibilities that affect both private and student landlords alike such as health and safety regulations, and energy performance rates.
Keep your tenants in the loop
You should let your student tenants know when and if you plan to conduct viewings in the property they rent. You must give your tenants 24 hours notice. If the viewing time doesn’t suit the tenant, then they have the right to reschedule to a more convenient time, so always bare this in mind.
You should also remind your tenants that as a landlord, you have the right to conduct occasional and random check-ups of the property to ensure that it is being maintained and looked after in a proper way.
Use property management systems to communicate with your student tenants
If you let multiple properties to tenants, it can be difficult to effectively communicate with each individual person and you can often feel overwhelmed navigating around various different platforms. You can limit your interactions and streamline your communication process by introducing property management systems which allow both landlord and tenant to access relevant documents and message each other directly.
Student letting offers some seriously lucrative returns, however there are more responsibilities that come with being a student landlord as opposed to a private landlord, and this should be considered before making any decisions. As long as you follow these 9 top tips, then your role and the whole process should be as simple, straightforward and enjoyable as possible!