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Should I Rent my Flat to Students?

Wednesday, 2nd November 2011

Categories: Lettings

Author: Peter Barry

The student rental market can be a real pull for property owners, and rightly so. Property in student towns and cities will always rent out and it should hold its own in the resale market, too. Indeed, many landlords have entire portfolios of student flats as the tenants tend to be fairly undemanding, rent is steady and students will often have guarantors, to reduce the instances of rent default. As with any rental agreement, student tenants will have to pay a deposit and will usually pay rent in advance, so you do have monetary back-up, should things go wrong.

However, many people are still nervous about renting their properties out to students. They imagine all-night parties, piles of dirty washing up, friends staying over all the time, and overgrown gardens, and they don’t want to redecorate and re-carpet the entire property every year. Whatever your thoughts are on student tenants, it’s always good to weight up the pros and cons before you make a decision:

The Pros

  • If they decide to stay on, you could have long-term tenants and no voids
  • If your flat is in a student town, there will always be a market for it
  • You don’t need to install top-of-the-range appliances or solid wood floors for the student market: a basic, comfortable flat with affordable rent will do the trick
  • If your son or daughter is a student, a buy-to-let student flat could be a great long-term investment. Plus, if they’re living there, they have a vested interest in maintaining the property
  • If the property has two reception rooms, you can maximise your rental income by renting out on a room-by-room basis and using one or both receptions as bedrooms

The Cons

  • If they move out at the end of the academic year, you could have a long void period over the summer unless you agree a fixed term tenancy for one year at the start of the tenancy.
  • Students aren’t generally known for being house-proud: be prepared for frequent redecoration
  • Any new additions to the flat won’t necessarily equate to an increase in rent: students are looking for cost-efficient properties which are mainly clean and tidy rather than of a higher specification.
  • If the property is in the middle of a student area, it might be difficult to breach the ceiling price of the area, should you wish to upgrade and sell it in the future

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