Landlord tips for renting to students
With two distinguished universities and a lively night life – it’s no wonder that Aberdeen is a hotspot for student living.
It’s well worth considering renting your property to those in higher education, but bear in mind that letting to students comes with all its own regulations and often requires a very particular approach. We’ve laid out a quick seminar for landlords dealing with academic tenants.
For many students – university is their first time living away from home, and simultaneously the time it starts to settle in that their clothes haven’t been magically washing themselves all these years.
While you might be lucky and land yourself a domestically-gifted 17-year-old tenant, it’s likely that your renters might need a bit of a steer in the right direction when it comes to everyday upkeep of the property.
Make sure that they have everything they need when they move in to keep the place looking spick and span. It’s always a nice touch to provide them with the first round of cleaning products, such as washing up liquid, glass cleaner etc. That way it’s very clear what is needed to maintain the standard that you expect.
Make sure to arrange occasional check-ups of the flat (preferably when one of the students is in) so that you are aware and can let them know of any household chores that could do with a little more attention.
Part of the Furniture
Students will very rarely have their own furniture ready to move in, and, due to uncertainty over long-term living arrangements – it is unlikely to be an investment for them to purchase any.
If you’re interested in renting to students, you will find it much easier to secure tenants with a fully furnished flat. It doesn’t necessarily have to be state of the art, or even matching, as most students tend to operate on a functionality over form basis when it comes to their academic abode.
To ensure that you get the best value for your investment, select furniture that is of a durable nature. While not all students will be throwing wild parties, it is reasonable to expect a healthy amount of wear and tear throughout the semester!
House in Multiple Occupation
It’s unusual for students to be on the hunt for single tenant occupancy, and it’s often a case of the more the merrier – for reasons both social and financial.
It’s important to note that, if you’re planning to buy with the intention of letting to a group of students, you will need to have a HMO licence for the property. Put simply, HMOs are required for houses or flats in which three or more people who are unrelated are living together and sharing facilities (such as a kitchen, bathroom, etc.)
As a landlord of an HMO you will have specific legal responsibilities including fire safety measures, gas and electric safety checks and overall standards of communal areas and shared facilities.
While this might seem like a lot of extra work, the obligations do not really exceed those which you would expect of any dependable landlord. You also might find that the extra administration work is balanced out by the benefits of receiving rent from multiple tenants!
Guarantee your fee
With students in full time higher education there can sometimes be an issue with steady income, which gives rise to the worry of inconsistent rent payments.
If this is something that concerns you, there is always the option of requesting a third party to act as guarantor. This would involve a parent or guardian signing an agreement stating that if for any reason the renter is unable to pay rent, then the guarantor will be liable for money owed.
The guarantor agreement can also be extended to other aspects of tenancy such as bills and damage to property; if this is the route that you would like to go down then just make sure that everyone involved is completely aware of the circumstances before the agreement is signed.
In most scenarios you won’t even have to invoke the guarantor arrangement, but it provides welcome peace of mind through the duration of the tenancy!
Don’t let the good ‘uns get away
One of the most frustrating things about renting to students is the inevitable turnover. While some students opt to stay all year round so as to work during the summer, a lot of them only need a place to stay for nine months a year - the other three months often being spent either back home or travelling here there and everywhere.
If you come across a student with whom the tenancy is proving to be mutually beneficial, it can often be worthwhile trying to devise alternative arrangements for the time that they will not be occupying the property.
Whether this involves the subletting of rooms or even just a lowered “holding” rate, it will save them the stress of remotely finding new accommodation and you the bother of advertising for new occupants each academic year!