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Although many landlords have avoided student letting during lockdown, with restrictions easing and the market set to grow, now is a good time to get back into the market.
Students will always need private accommodation, and with numbers increasing year on year, they are fast becoming a desirable tenant group.
Follow our top tips to make sure your student let gets a passing grade.
Why should I let to students?
You’ll find that students are generally easy going, and that letting to them is pretty straightforward, as long as you offer a clean, tidy and comfortable furnished house.
Usually you can fit more students into a property than other types of renters. A three-bed house will often accommodate four sharers. So by letting to students, you can make a greater return than you would with other tenants.
Also, students usually pay their rent upfront instead of monthly, so you won’t have the hassle of chasing any late payments throughout the term.
What are my responsibilities?
For many students, this will be their first time living away from home, so they may need a little guidance on how to live independently. Try to be as helpful as possible and make yourself available when they move in or by phone to answer any queries they might have about what’s expected of them as a tenant.
Providing a welcome pack with basics such as cleaning utensils, toiletries and instructions for the boiler, heating and washing machine can help the students settle in and build their trust in you as a landlord.
Remember, the more attentive you are, the more likely they are to respect your property and keep it in good shape.
What furnishings should I provide?
Most student lets are ‘houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)’, and should provide at a minimum three separate bedrooms, a kitchen and a communal living space, otherwise you’ll be limiting who you appeal to.
It’s unlikely that students will have their own furniture, so they’ll expect the house to be fully or part furnished.
White goods including a washing machine, fridge freezer and cooker are essential, although it’s a good idea to provide other kitchen appliances like a microwave, toaster and a kettle as well.
If you don’t want to spend too much money on communal furnishings such as sofas and chairs you can pick up bargains from shops such as Ikea or Argos, or even second hand. Something sturdy and reliable should last a few years before it needs replacing.
What should be included in the tenancy agreement?
Most student landlords opt for a joint tenancy agreement where the tenants are responsible for all costs. This should protect you in case anyone leaves mid-term, as the other tenants will be liable for their share of the rent.
For many students, this will be their first time manging their own money so ask each student to provide a guarantor. This will usually be their parent or guardian and covers any rent or costs if the student is unable to pay.
Who pays Council Tax?
As long as you are renting solely to students, then you won’t have to pay council tax for your property. Your student tenants will have to get an exemption certificate from their council so it’s a good idea to ask for a copy of this.
If you’re unable to prove that only students occupied your property, you’ll have to pay any outstanding council tax.
What if I receive noise complaints?
As with any other tenants, there may be friction with neighbours from time to time, and it’s important to deal with this as quickly as you can by speaking to the students in person if possible.
Talk to the students openly and remind them to be mindful of their neighbours, hopefully this should nip things in the bud and prevent any further incidents.
If you keep receiving complaints and decide it’s better to let your property to other types of tenants, make sure you have a clause in the tenancy agreement about noise and nuisance before asking the students to leave or there could be legal consequences.
As a last resort, you can report the students to the council environmental officer and serve a section 8 notice, which will allow you to end the tenancy.
Do I have any other responsibilities?
If you maintain a good relationship with your students and deal with any issues promptly then that can be very beneficial for you. Word of mouth between students is very persuasive, and once you get a good reputation within the student community, you should have no trouble filling your property for years to come.
If you’re a first time landlord then you can follow our Landlord checklist to make sure you’re ready to start letting your property.