As students return to university, it isn’t long before the excitement of a new term dies down and they start to think about finding a student landlord for the following year. Many first years will have settled into halls and be eager to secure a place with their new set of friends – but when do they seriously start searching?
Student landlords at the ready
Although students are likely to have only moved in at the end of September, the autumn term is a crucial time for student landlords to advertise their property.
Christina, one of our most experienced student landlords suggests that “The best time to advertise your student let is October/November. The students have settled into their courses and begun to feel their feet, but accommodation is fresh on their minds and their thoughts turn to who they would like to share with next year”.
She then went on to add, “As a landlord, this is an excellent opportunity to take the pressure off as you can lock in a deal with a deposit. These students won’t be taking up their tenancy until August/September, so one of the perks of renting to students is their long lead-in times”.
What are your responsibilities?
For most students, living out during university will be their first time renting – but this is no reason for landlords to take advantage. Although they may be unfamiliar with the ins and outs, student tenants should be treated as tenants, regardless of their age or experience.
Back in March 2019, a group of students in Leeds took their landlord to court after discovering that he did not have an HMO licence and had been letting the property to them illegally. The students won the case and the landlord was ordered to pay back their rent, equating to over £15,000.
Make sure you get a qualified clerk to take an inventory of the house so you know what needs repairing before the tenant moves in. You should always communicate with your tenant and let them know when repairs will be carried out.Povi, Student Landlord at Letting a Property
To ensure that you’re fulfilling your responsibilities as a student landlord, here are some things to keep on top of:
- HMO licensing – check with your local council about selective, additional and HMO licensing.
- Inventory – when taking on new tenants, carrying out an inventory check is fundamental. This way, any disputes about broken furniture or faulty appliances can be simply solved.
- Electricals (EIRC) and Portable appliance testing (PAT) – Speaking of faulty appliances, any fixed installations should be checked every five years and a PAT test should be carried out regularly.
- Gas safety – students may not be aware of their property’s legal requirements – but that doesn’t mean they should be skipped. Ensure you perform an annual gas safety check.
- Smoke alarms – You must check that every smoke alarm is in working order on the first day of tenancy.
- Furnishings – most student lettings come at least partly furnished. Any furniture you supply should be fit for use, fireproofed and labelled if required.
Concerned about cleaning up? Take a look at our 21 Landlord Hacks For Cleaning Your Rental.
According to the Universities UK International, 19.6% of all students studying in the UK in 2018 were international. This is quite a large percentage of the student population that is going to ‘need’ a place to stay.
Without a rental history in the UK, international students commonly pay up to six months’ rent in advance to secure a property, removing a landlord’s fear of rent arrears. High-end, luxury accommodation targeted at international students is currently a booming market and can attract tenants that are known to happily pay a substantial price.
Student landlords, the demand is high
Particularly in areas around major colleges and universities, and where there is easy access to public transport, rental properties are constantly in high demand.
Despite the influx of new purpose built buildings that offer student accommodation exclusively and the availability of halls of residence, with the significant and endless turnover of new students annually, student landlords can still tap into this high demand and increase their rental yield.
Also, with the flexibility of converting a typical 3 bedroom semi to a 6 bedroom student home and renting out on a per room basis as a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs), landlords have the opportunity to maximise their revenues more than if they were renting to a family or couple.
Students need all the money they can get
No matter how many parties they host or how untidy the place is, at the end of their lease, students need all the money they can get and will do a lot to ensure they get back the full deposit. Whether it’s recruiting their friends and family and paying them in pizza and beer, or hiring the best cleaners in town to blitz the place, the property will probably look better than before they moved in. And if it didn’t, you’ve got a deposit to fall back onto.
How can we help student landlords?
For some landlords, a big concern when letting to students is securing the rent. Whilst most have no trouble with paying the rent on time, there are a few students that (for whatever reason) may catch themselves out of pocket at the end of the month. These kinds of situations are tricky for landlords: you don’t want to hound a financially struggling and stressed out student, but you do need to pay your mortgage.
Our Rent on Time plan offers a simple solution: we’ll pay the rent, even when your tenant can’t. This way, you won’t have to worry about missing out on your mortgage payments or fretting over delayed student loans because we’ll take care of it regardless.
If you’re ready to start advertising your student property in preparation for the new academic year, please feel free to contact us on 0333 577 8888 or visit our website today.