With universities continuing to attract thousands of students, the demand for student accommodation remains robust. If you’re a landlord considering renting to students, it’s essential to understand the intricacies of this unique market segment. This article provides a comprehensive guide on what to expect when renting to students and how to make the experience smooth for both parties.
The Student Market: A Snapshot Students offer a reliable rental market, with a predictable influx every academic year. Many landlords appreciate the predictability of this cycle, even though the property might be vacant during summer months. However, student tenants can have different requirements and lifestyles than other tenant groups, so it’s essential to be prepared.
Furnishing the Property Students generally expect properties to be fully furnished. From beds and wardrobes to sofas and white goods, your property should be equipped for immediate move-in. However, consider durability over luxury. It might pay to invest in hard-wearing items.
Council Tax Exemption One point to note when renting to full-time students is that they are exempt from paying council tax. However, it’s the responsibility of the students to provide proof of their student status to the council. If your property houses both students and professionals, it will not be entirely exempt, but a discount might apply.
Communication is Key Students are often renting for the first time. Clear communication about their responsibilities and what’s expected can prevent misunderstandings. Regular check-ins, especially at the start, can help set the tone for a smooth tenancy. Email is often the preferred mode of communication for students, but it’s wise to have multiple communication channels open.
Managing Deposits and Disputes To protect yourself and the property, always take a security deposit. As of 2019, with the Tenant Fees Act in place, there are limits on the amounts that can be charged as deposits. Deposits for student properties should be protected in a government-approved deposit scheme.
To prevent deposit disputes:
- Inventory: Always provide a clear and detailed inventory before the students move in. This should include the condition of the property and any existing damage.
- Regular Inspections: Plan for periodic inspections, informing tenants in advance.
- Clear Expectations: Clearly state the condition in which you expect the property to be returned.
HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) Requirements If you plan to rent your property to three or more students who aren’t from the same family, you will need a HMO license. HMO regulations ensure the property is safe and suitable for multiple tenants. It includes requirements like fire safety precautions and ensuring there are adequate facilities for the tenants. Not adhering to HMO requirements can lead to hefty fines.
Safety First Safety is paramount. Regular gas safety checks, electrical checks, and the provision of smoke alarms are not just legal requirements but also crucial for the well-being of the students. The better the safety, the higher the trust from both students and their guardians.
Contractual Matters Always use a written tenancy agreement. It not only defines the terms and conditions but also clarifies the responsibilities of both parties. A joint tenancy is common among students, where all tenants are collectively responsible for the rent and condition of the property.
Respecting Privacy While regular inspections are essential, always respect your tenants’ privacy. Give them notice (at least 24 hours) before you plan to visit the property. This builds trust and maintains a good landlord-tenant relationship.
The Final Touches While not a requirement, providing a small ‘welcome pack’ or guide can be a great touch. It might include information on the local area, instructions for appliances, and emergency contact numbers. These gestures can set a positive tone for the duration of the tenancy.
Renting to students can be a rewarding experience for landlords. The demand is consistent, and with the right preparations, potential challenges can be navigated smoothly. Understanding the unique requirements of student tenants and fostering clear communication is the key to a successful and stress-free tenancy.
Considering renting to students? Want to ensure your property is set up for success? Get in touch with our expert team today for personalised guidance tailored to your property and the local student market.