Opinion: Thinking of letting your property to students this September? Read these landlord tips first
There are now more students in the UK than ever before. A record 1.7m are studying full-time, including 1.04m studying away from home, an increase of 2.6 per cent year-on-year, according to The Student Accommodation Annual Report 2017-18 from Cushman & Wakefield. If you’re a landlord letting to a student for the first time this September, here are some useful tips.
Learn more about your student renter
It is important to build a proper profile before deciding whether he or she would be an appropriate tenant, so find out what they are studying, how long they have been studying, whether they have rented before and more about their general background.
Be flexible on adapting your property
Every tenancy comes with certain requests and restrictions, but you may want to apply slightly different ones for a student, such as arranging for a cleaner to visit regularly. It may be worth considering inserting a clause in the tenancy agreement, requesting that music should not be played after a certain time or limiting gatherings of more than a few people at the property. This will keep you on good terms with the neighbours. Regular property inspections are recommended and will ensure any problems or repairs are kept on top of.
The ‘right to rent’
Around 23 per cent of all UK students come from overseas. Under UK law, landlords must ensure that a tenant is allowed to rent the property in question. It is a legal requirement for you to check an original identification document, usually a passport, as part of the ‘right-to-rent’ process, which must cover everyone aged 18 and over, even if they are not named on the tenancy agreement.
If the prospective tenant is from outside the European Union, they will need to provide a valid visa for the start date of the tenancy. Additionally, as most students will be without a stable salary, they will usually require a guarantor to rent the property. Some letting agents, including Draker, can look after these checks, if required.
Offering a point of contact and support
Moving to a big city like London can be incredibly daunting for a young person, and the happier the tenant, the more likely they are to want to remain living in your rental property.
Consider how you can provide a little extra support that perhaps wouldn’t normally be necessary with a different type of tenant and go the extra mile to establish effective communication with your lettings agency so they have a good point of contact.
Encourage communication via an established channel as a starting point and stay in touch, ideally through regular, scheduled, respectful inspections, to ensure everything is running according to plan.
Optimise your lettings cycle
More people move home in the summer than at any other time of year. Therefore, whether the individual is a student or otherwise, if you can tie your tenant into a one-year agreement it will ensure that when your property goes back on the lettings market again next summer, the pool of potential candidates will be as extensive as possible to avoid gaps in rental payments.