5 Handy Tips for Student Landlords

We receive several telephone calls on a weekly basis from people who are either existing landlords or looking to buy an investment property in Sheffield. Many wish to offer student accommodation because their research shows there is a potential market due to the strong uptake in student enrolments at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.

If you are thinking about providing student accommodation, here are a few handy tips to help you on your way.

People ask us:

1. What are the best areas in Sheffield to buy for student rentals? This can be a difficult question to answer as your finances and personal ownership preferences will largely dictate where your student property should be. Generally, students look for properties within a 10 to 15 minute walk to their university campus therefore, the areas of Broomhall, Broomhill, Crookes, Crookesmoor and Sheffield City Centre (as close to the Diamond Building) are the most sought after areas.

Be sure to check whether the property is able to house 3 or more unrelated tenants. We have written about Article 4 Direction in Sheffield. Please click here for further details.

The return on investment will also be a factor to take into account as the purchase price of the property will have a significant impact upon these calculations.

2. I am thinking about buying a 3 bedroom home and converting the lounge into a fourth bedroom to get extra rent. Is this a good idea? In theory, the extra rent (typically in the region of £325 to £375 per calendar month) is appealing however, the feedback we receive from students when carrying out property viewings is that properties with a separate lounge are more appealing than those that have limited communal space.

3. How much rent should I expect to receive? The amount of rent your property generates will depend upon a number of variables. Some of the key features that students look for are:

  • Rooms that are equally sized (IE. No one person is significantly better/worse off than the rest of the group).
  • The proximity to university campus. Sheffield is a city of steep hills and this is a significant factor on students’ minds. The closer to campus (IE. Under 15 minutes walking distance), the better. Quiet streets and those which do not have parking restrictions are particularly appealing.
  • Modern facilities. Properties with modern and well-functioning kitchens (ideally with gas cookers and clean electric ovens) and a clothes dryer or washer/dryer outperform other houses that are dated or where facilities struggle to cope with the household size.
  • Tenant to Bathroom ratio. This is hugely important. Houses with ensuite bathrooms or those that offer clean and modern bathroom facilities are more likely to be rented.
  • Bedroom structure. Students like to have double beds, good storage facilities and decent sized desks. This is an area where students will spend a lot of their time studying and it is therefore important to provide a surrounding suitable to their needs. Students who study in computer sciences and architecture particularly require decent sized desks. It is advisable to provide good, modern, clean and sturdy furniture at all times.
  • Back Yard. If possible, a low maintenance rear yard is always desirable. Properties offering secure storage facilities for bicycles and sporting equipment are highly sought after.
  • General condition of the property. Of paramount importance is the condition and safety of the property IE. It meets all the regulatory requirements before it can be rented. Houses should be checked and treated for damp, energy efficiency and reliable heating to name a few.

The rent will therefore be dependent upon the location of the property and the facilities provided. This can range from £300 – £370 per person per calendar month (or even more) excluding bills.

4. Should the rent include bills? Few students are willing to pay bills as an additional component to their rent. Consider offering rental terms with a “Bills Inclusive” package and one without bills. There are Bills Inclusive providers such as Unihomes who offer a comprehensive bills-inclusive package on competitive terms. These packages typically include Gas, Electricity, Water, Internet/WiFi & Television Licence. We wrote an article for students on this topic and you can click here for further information.

5. Can you manage my property? At Nicholas Humphreys (Sheffield – Broomhill & Crookes), we offer a comprehensive Fully Managed lettings service aimed to provide Landlords and Tenants total peace of mind. For a small monthly investment, we will:

  • Create a targeted marketing campaign to advertise your property for the academic year ahead. This reduces the risk of unnecessary rental voids which can be costly
  • Conduct property viewings on your behalf
  • Carry out due diligence vetting on tenants EG. Right to Rent ChecksCouncil Tax Exemption etc.
  • Prepare up to date Tenancy & Guarantor Agreements
  • Carry out mid-term property inspections
  • Follow-up on rental arrears
  • Register tenancy deposits compliantly
  • Prepare a detailed Condition & Inventory Report
  • Provide tenancy support 7 days a week
  • Assist with compliance matters EG. Gas Safety CertificatesElectrical Installation Condition ReportsEPC & HMO Licencing etc
  • Issue auditable monthly rental statements for your bookkeeping purposes
  • Provide access to our panel of insured, trusted and qualified tradespeople

For some HMO landlords, management by a certified practitioner who has satisfactorily completed a HMO course will be a requirement before a HMO Licence may be issued. At Nicholas Humphreys (Sheffield – Broomhill & Crookes), we hold the necessary qualifications to support landlords comply with HMO requirements.

Would you like more information about buying and managing a rental property in Sheffield or need some advice in relation to HMO and the Article 4 Planning Directive?

Call us on 0114 470 4715 for a chat and we will be happy to assist you.

Our office is open 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm.