The Public Liability Insurance Blog

Renting to students – a landlord's guide

Modern FurnitureThis is a guest post from Urban Sales and Lettings.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency have published 2011/2012 figures showing there are now 2,496,645 students living in the UK. That’s a lot of students and they all need somewhere to live. With that in mind it’s no wonder that an increasing number of landlords are branching out into the world of student lettings. Demand is steady and predictable which is perfect for allowing landlords to time their marketing effectively over the summer and avoid expensive void periods. Here are some pointers for you to bear in mind.

Reputation: Students may have acquired a bad reputation when it comes to renting but letting to students can be a positive step. You may find that your tenants or their parents wish to pay the rent in advance at the start of each term which can be reassuring. Normally student tenants are not quite as demanding as young professionals so you may find you have an easier time letting your property even if it is in need of a new kitchen. That’s not to say students will rent any property no matter how bad its condition. As a landlord you need to ensure certain standards are met, but you may get away with the retro appeal of your avocado bathroom suite!

Location: Location really is everything as far as student lets are concerned so if you are looking to invest in a buy to let property specifically aimed at students be sure to do your research. Websites such as online estate agents and online property portals are a valuable resource when researching. Focus tightly on area and proximity to campus and transport links. Size really does matter with three and four beds will be far more desirable than one or two beds as most student tenants tend to want to let with a group of friends. Keep in mind that certain university locations are experiencing shortfalls in accommodation levels while others are highly over catered for so contacting estate agents to get a feel for the market is a good idea; why not get in touch with the university accommodations office as well.

Responsibilities: Remember that letting to students is no different in terms of your landlord obligations and responsibilities, gas safety certificates need to be provided annually and deposits need to be protected within an approved Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme.

Inventories: An inventory is an absolute must when it comes to student rentals; disputes over rental deposits are all too common and can be highly stressful and time consuming for both landlords and tenants. Help avoid potential issues with a professional inventory which you keep updated after each property maintenance inspection. Your inventory can become your best friend during a dispute case so don’t skimp on using a high quality provider at the off-set.

Insurance: Buy to let insurance for a student property can be vital. Your investment property is a valuable asset and you will of course want to protect it as far as possible. Ensure you are purchasing a policy specifically designed for landlords. Policy premiums will vary depending on various factors so make sure your policy covers the areas that are important to your situation.

Written by Sarah Male, Urban Sales and Lettings

Image credit: Tiffin University