Despite the challenges of the past 18 months, recent research has revealed that the UK’s rental demand for student properties has remained unchanged by the pandemic.
This is great news for landlords living and letting properties in university cities like Peterborough – which already boasts the popular Anglia Ruskin campus alongside exciting plans to open another £30 million university close to the city centre in 2022.
The new facility will provide places for 2,000 students when it opens its doors in September 2022 – further boosting demand for the local rental property market from ‘out of town’ students.
Understandably, some landlords may have their reservations about letting to students and in particular, multiple occupants at one address (readers of a certain age may think back to the antics in the TV comedy classic The Young Ones!).
But let us try and separate the facts from the fiction. The pros of letting to students can certainly outweigh the cons if things are done correctly and with careful thought and consideration at the outset.
Letting to students can often be more profitable than traditional lets because:
- Demand and competition in student areas is strong and consistent.
- Students will usually look to rent for a minimum of 12 months (depending on their course) meaning less stress when it comes to finding new tenants.
- Student lets tend to offer particularly high yields.
Where to start if you are a first-time landlord
Firstly, landlords should think about the property/ies they have to let and the suitability to students – and of course, the appeal of the location.
A property with a minimum of three bedrooms and large communal spaces is ideal for students if as a landlord you are looking to offer shared accommodation.
More than one toilet or bathroom will also be a major plus point, along with a garden and a location within a 30-minute walking distance of the university campus will of course be a huge advantage.
It may not be too bold a statement to say that properties tend to suffer more wear and tear when let to students – and as a result landlords could be faced with spending more on maintenance at the end of a tenancy than they may with a traditional let.
In addition, most students will have little or no furniture of their own so will expect properties to be fully furnished.
Here’s a reasonable tick list of what to offer:
- Washing machine
- Fridge freezer
- Carpets / curtains / lampshades
- Desk and chair for each room
- Vacuum cleaner
- Lawn mower
How to ensure your landlord / student relationship gets top marks
With some uncertainty still surrounding how the new academic year will pan out, how many students will start or return to university in person, or whether they begin the term studying remotely – it is probably fair to say that many will not know what to expect when moving into student accommodation for the first time.
Landlords themselves are still adjusting to how the ever-changing public health measures affect setting up new tenancies.
Ensuring a safe and efficient tenancy in line with Government and industry regulations will also help to avoid any disputes at the end of the tenancy. Be sure to check the latest advice as and when you decide you want to let your property to students.
Other things to consider:
1. The check-in information should be thorough, factual, and accurately describe the condition of the carpets, walls, furniture, and garden. It should note items’ age, wear, and existing damage. Using a third-party inventory service to record the condition of furniture and fixtures can also help prevent disputes at the end of a tenancy.
2. Take photos of the property. Good quality, colour photos, along with the check-in report, provide the best evidence during any dispute. Date-stamped images taken on or close to the check-in date are optimal. Tenants who want to take their own photographs should agree with the landlord or agent a suitable time to enter the property.
3. Advise tenants that they should study the draft report and send back written amendments within seven days. If tenants don’t amend a draft check-in report within seven days of receiving it in person, via post or by email, the landlord assumes the tenants agree with it.
4. Put conversations about the property’s condition in writing. Tenants and landlords who speak about the property’s condition should also follow up by post or email in order to keep a record and remove doubt should anyone need to refer to their conversations at a later date.
5. Landlords, agents, and tenants should hold onto the final, agreed version of the report as well as any email trail or postal receipts relating to it. A landlord who can’t get a digital or physical signature from a tenant should ask them for an email or text confirming their agreement – and keep a copy.
If you have a property that you would like to discuss the management of, or you are looking to become a portfolio landlord, speak to a member of the City and County team today, to understand more about the benefits of partnering with us.