Understandably renting to students makes people a little bit nervous. There is a certain stereotype that comes with students. In a word: messy.
We have all been in a student house which looked like it was a scene from an Avengers battle. Like Thanos himself had strode through the living and kitchen areas laying waste indiscriminately.
This would be off-putting to the most hardened of landlords. Yet, there is a big market for student housing and if managed properly student housing can be lucrative.
A student is an individual who is enrolled in a college or university. They can be taking undergraduate classes or enrolled in a master's program.
The majority of students are undergraduates between the ages of 18 - 24. They are away from home for the first time and still learning how to live alone. Those enrolled in masters programs are generally older and the age range is more varied as many people go back to school later in life to complete a master's degree.
One of the major differences between renting to students and renting to employed adults is income. Most undergraduates go to school full-time and may supplement their income with some part-time work. We will explore what this means later in the article.
Screening student tenants can be a bit of a challenge the reason being is most won’t have credit and they won’t have an employment history or a previous rental history. It can be difficult to know if a student can or will pay.
To ensure this doesn’t become a problem make sure you get a co-signer on the lease for each student who will become responsible for paying the rent should the student prove unable.
Often a family member will agree to be a co-signer on the lease to help a college student secure housing. When you add a co-signer to your lease, be sure you screen the co-signer the same way you would a normal applicant. They will be financially responsible should the student not pay rent, therefore, you need to know that they are qualified to take on that responsibility.
Your students probably aren’t that well versed in what being a tenant entails. Make sure you go through key points of the lease with them to ensure they understand their responsibilities towards the properties and the consequences for breaking the lease agreement.
The stronger the lease you create and the better you communicate the terms of the lease, the less chance you have for miscommunication. Be sure, though, that your lease adheres to all local laws and regulations.
Students won’t have their own furniture. Which means furnished properties are popular. When it comes to furnishing your student rental keep the following in mind:
It’s appropriate then to ensure you buy quality, durable furnishings to reduce the frequency of replacing furniture, but do not buy expensive furnishings. This furniture will likely need to be replaced no matter how durable it is after a while and expensive furniture will be damaging to cashflow.
Students are (hopefully) focusing on their studies whilst living in your property. It makes sense then to ensure they have a place to study. Enough desks and chairs for all occupants, for example.
1. Location: The top of the list of desired features for a student's house is the location. And you’ll actually see but location actually makes spots 3 and 7. Your property should be close to campus first. Students party late, have lessons at irregular hours (many will skip the occasional class) and they don’t want an hour-long commute.
2. Affordability: As we mentioned before students often aren’t working, or if they are they are working part-time. What this means is they won’t have the cash-flow to rent somewhere expensive. Making sure your property is affordable then is key if you want to appeal to student renters.
3. Access to Public Transportation: A lot of students don’t have cars. This means the only way for them to get around is by using public transport. Having easy access to public transport networks to take them to campus or downtown will be a major plus.
4. Safety: For many, this is the first time living away from home. Both the parents and the student will want to make sure that the property is safe. Make sure the property is in a low crime neighborhood, there are locks on windows, deadbolts on the front door, and locks on each bedroom door.
5. Private Area: People want their private space. This is especially true for college students who likely spent their first year sharing a room. Having private rooms is a major plus then, rooms that allow students a little privacy to get their work done.
6. Laundry: Whilst not a necessity, many students - the same with most renters - prefer the convenience of an in-unit laundry machine.
7. Neighbors: The final point is about location again. Simply put, students prefer neighborhoods where other students are located.
Renting to students can be profitable. There is high demand and often they aren’t as fussy about the quality of the property as other tenants might be.
However, make sure you take proper precautions by getting a cosigner that has the financial capability to cover the rent should the student fall short. And make sure your students understand the details of the lease and the consequences of breaking the terms of the lease.
As the property owner, you’re responsible for non-compliance with snow removal ordinances, so it’s best if you make sure snow removal equipment is available. You may even find if you check the local bylaws that you are required to keep public thoroughfares that cross our property free from snow too...