Renting to Students: What Every Landlord Should Know

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Renting your property out to students can be a lucrative proposition. If you happen to live in an area with a thriving student population, it could prove an excellent buy-to-let opportunity.

So, if life as a landlord beckons– here are a few things to think about:

Student appeal:

If there’s a large student population in your town or city, the rental market in that area might already be fairly saturated with student accommodation. Also, universities often offer purpose built housing off-campus for their students, so there might be a fair amount of competition. With this in mind, it’s important to pick a property and location with strong ‘student appeal’.

Close proximity to campus is obviously a top priority – as well as good transport links and easy access to local amenities (shops, bars, library etc…)  Large houses that can accommodate big groups of friends are often highly in demand.

It might be useful to chat with the university about popular areas that they’d recommend to their students.

Spread the word:

Most universities will have an accommodation office that’s dedicated to helping students find a place to live. The university may have an accommodation list or website that’s the first port of call for house-hungry students. They may advertise properties to students by email or through campus publications. Some institutions might also host housing fairs and accommodation events to aid students in their search.

Make sure you investigate any internal university advertising and accommodation services. This will be one of the best ways of promoting your property to potential tenants. You may be asked to register your property with the accomodation office and potentially pay a fee to do so.

Get insured:

If you’re renting to tenants you will need to have sufficient landlord insurance. Having this specialist home insurance in place could help protect you financially if any damage is caused to your property or you suffer an unexpected loss of rent. Landlord liability insurance could help you cover legal or compensation costs if someone was injured as a result of your property. Some insurance providers may also offer a discount if you rent to students – so it’s worth shopping around

Licence to let:

If you plan to rent to a group of students who are all sharing the facilities of the property– you may require an HMO licence. HMO stands for ‘House in Multiple Occupation’.

As a general rule, HMOs with 5 or more tenants or that have three or more storeys will require a licence. However, your local council may also require other types of HMO to have a licence too- so it’s worth checking. To grant you with an HMO licence, the council will assess the suitability of the property for the number of tenants living there – as well as the suitability of the shared facilities (bathrooms and kitchens etc).

You will also be required to meet a number of conditions and health and safety regulations. This will include things like the installation of smoke alarms and an annual gas safety certificate.

The early bird:

Even though the university term normally kicks-off in September, most students will be scoping out accommodation long before then. Try to ensure that any work or decoration to your property is completed in good time for the start of term – many students look to move in early July. Undergraduates often start looking for properties as early as February onwards.

Policy Expert

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The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.