Renting property to students is very common for UK landlords. Around 1 in 5 landlords rent to students, meaning that student accommodation forms a large slice of the UK’s rented sector.
If you rent to students, or hope to, then OpenRent is here to help. We let thousands of student houses, flats and studios every year with our industry-leading advertising services. Here is how you can benefit.
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Renting to Students
There are two kinds of property that students can rent. The first kind is Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA). Under this heading fall university halls of residence, private halls and self-contained apartments or houses let only to students. The amount of PBSA being built in the UK is growing as institutional investors increasingly see it as a reliable stream of rental income.
PBSA is very popular with undergraduates and international students, who are assured they will live in property of a certain standard, in a good location, with fellow scholars. It can be very expensive, however.
OpenRent can be used to advertise PBSA. You can create an advert and select ‘Students Only’. You can advertise an entire house or flat, or a room in a shared facility.
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Renting property to students
The other kind of student accommodation is properties rented from landlords who choose to rent to students. Student houses are usually clustered in high density student areas in most of the UK’s university towns and cities. Many cities have famous student districts, like Manchester’s Fallowfield or Newcastle’s Osborne Road. London is an exception, with its students more diffused throughout the metropolis.
If your rental property is in one of these student areas, it is very likely that you will be letting to students. That may have been your plan when you bought the property, or just a fact of what kind of tenant enquires — even if it wasn’t specifically a student property advert.
How to Advertise Student Accommodation
Just like advertising non-student housing, the best place to advertise your student property is online: the UK’s two largest property portals in particular. These sites, Rightmove and Zoopla, get the most traffic from tenants, and therefore will give your property the most enquiries, helping you let it quickly with a good number of tenants to choose from.
You can’t advertise on Rightmove and Zoopla directly. You need to use an online letting agent like OpenRent, who will post the advert on your behalf. OpenRent is the UK’s most popular way to advertise on Rightmove and Zoopla.
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Tips for Renting to Students
People can study at any stage of life, but the overwhelming majority of students in the UK are young and renting for the first time. They may want to sign a contract that is shorter than a year, especially if they don’t plan to use the property during the summer, when universities typically aren’t teaching.
In some cities like Edinburgh, this traditionally allowed student landlords to earn extra money by using their properties for short term holiday lets in the summer, and as student digs from September to June. This is beginning to change, in Scotland at least, as nine-month contracts are no longer simple to create.
Students usually prefer furnished properties, as they are unlikely to own furniture of their own and may not want to buy any if they will only be around for one or two years. As a student landlord, you must expect regular turnover of tenants, meaning cost-effective tenant find services like OpenRent are crucial to saving money.
Setting up a student rental
It can be sensible to handle the bills with utility suppliers directly and include the bills in the tenants’ rent. This makes things simpler when tenants change over — plus students may prefer not to have to deal with utility companies. Broadband is of particular importance as students need good Internet access to study from home. They won’t necessarily be out at the library all day!
If renting a property with several bedrooms to several students at once, your student tenants may prefer to be in individual tenancy agreements with you, where they are all liable only for their individual rent. The alternative, putting them all onto one joint tenancy agreement, could make things trickier if one falls behind on payments, drops out of their course, or takes a semester abroad.
Students are unlikely to earn a full time income, meaning most landlords prefer to add a guarantor for each student tenant. The guarantor can be asked to pay any rent that the tenant fails to pay. Indeed, it may be the case that parent guarantors are the ones paying the rent every month anyway.