Renting to students: rules and tips

If you’re interested in renting to students, there are a few points to consider:

Clear Communication

Set out clear guidelines for all student tenancies and make sure you establish concrete deadlines for signing contracts, paying deposits and first rent instalments. Once you’ve found suitable tenants make sure they sign contracts well in advance of the tenancy start date. Make sure the lead tenant signs the tenancy agreement well in advance. If the student fails to sign soon the landlord will find it extremely difficult to secure alternative tenants with just weeks to go before the first term of university begins, resulting in a significant loss of earnings for the year.

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Guarantors

In the case of students, a parent is usually a guarantor. When you’re renting to students, you need to make sure that everyone, including guarantors, read and sign tenancy contracts and all the necessary documentation.

Try to complete this well in advance of the start date of the tenancy agreement. In fact, you’ll likely need a guarantor for each individual in the property and this will take time to organise.

It’s also important to make sure guarantors are UK-based. Otherwise, if problems arise with rent arrears, it would be near impossible to get any money back.

Assured Shorthold Tenancies

House Instructions

First-year students, in particular, may not have lived away from home before. Therefore, they may not be familiar with the general running of a home. Make sure you supply copies of instruction booklets for the household appliances: make sure they are not originals that none should lose. Make sure to speak with the lead tenant through the basics of maintaining a home such as opening windows to air the house, not to dry excessive amounts of washing inside the house to avoid damp occurring, etc.

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Lead Tenant

Try to have one spokesperson for the whole property rather than dealing with five or six different individuals. This will smoothen the communications between the landlord and tenants.

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Which Contract?

There are typically two types of contracts for student lets, and both have their advantages and disadvantages.

  • joint and severally liable contracts: these is easier to manage because it means in contract law that two or more people promise to do the same thing and also separately promise to do the same thing. It means that you’ll only need one deposit and one contract. If one person drops out during the year, the rest of the tenants will still be liable for the full rent.How to manage tenancy deposit disputes?
  • individual room let contracts are potentially more lucrative, but more complex. Landlords will need a contract for each individual. They will be liable for council tax, and in some cases other bills, too. This kind of contract does, however, offer some flexibility, so if there’s a problem tenant it’s easier to deal with without disrupting the other tenants.

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If you’re renting to students or for any other property management question, please contact Pelin Martin to book a 30-minute free consultation on +0208 994 7327 – pm@bluecrystallondon.co.uk

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