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How to Minimise Risk When Renting to Students

  • Posted:  6 years ago
  • Categories:  Landlords
How Landlords can Minimise Risk When Renting to Students - Priestley Lettings

While there is always an element of risk involved when renting a property to a new tenant, dealing with young adults and students does not have to be tricky. The combination of tenants who are youthful, immature and who lack experience living on their own can be a real nightmare, especially for landlords who fail to take the steps needed to better protect themselves. From dealing with students who already have established rental history to increasing the amount needed to cover a cleaning or security deposit, there are plenty of ways to minimise the specific risks involved when renting to students.

Select Tenants With Existing Rental History

Dealing with students who have absolutely no experience living away from home is something that landlords may do well to avoid. Students who have completed past rental agreements are far less likely to create problems and even a short stay may be enough to help determine which tenants may pose increased risk. Making an extra effort to contact references or to conduct a background check in order to verify rental or credit history can also be essential for ensuring that effective choices are made.

Modifying a Standard Lease

While a standard or existing lease may be more than adequate for most tenants, contracts that fail to cover certain issues may prove to be a significant liability when dealing with student lettings. Modifying a lease in order to address concerns like sound levels, maximum occupancy or the length of stay permitted by off-lease visitors will provide landlords with the extra leverage needed to address many of the most common and pressing problems that may crop up in the days ahead. Resolving conflicts that are not covered in the lease often proves to be a far more difficult and stressful ordeal than many property owners may have imagined.

Making Students Responsible for Utility Payments

Many owners choose to pay for utilities themselves in order to make a rental property more attractive to potential tenants. Arranging to have tenants cover the cost of their utilities and services can be a smart move when renting to students. Landlords who ensure that issues like late bill payments, delinquent accounts and even suspended services are less likely to involve them directly are far more likely to enjoy an issue-free rental agreement when dealing with students.

Require a Guarantor or Co-Signer

While immaturity and lack of experience are more likely to cause certain problems among younger renters, the more limited financial resources available to students is another concern which will need to be addressed. Without a co-signer on the lease, it may prove to be all but impossible to collect past due rent or to hold a student responsible for any damaged done to property during their stay. Failing to require a co-signer may prove to be nothing short of a disaster for those who are seeking to rent an off-campus property or to deal with younger renters.

Keep an Eye on the Property

Failing to check in or inspect the state of any property from time to time can be a risky course of action. Keeping an eye on the property can be of even greater importance when dealing with students, especially at the start of a tenancy. Being able to identify potential issues early on can minimise the size, scope and severity of any problems that may develop. Hiring an on-site property manager or adding specific details regarding site inspection and property maintenance to the tenancy agreement helps make it easier for property owners to prevent or avoid future problems.

Increase the Deposit or Ask for Rent in Advance

Asking for more money up front can have two major advantages. In addition to ensuring that the funds needed to cover potential damages, cleaning costs or missed rental payments can be had on hand, requiring a larger deposit helps to weed out prospective renters who may be less than financially stable. Trying to obtain money from a renter after the fact can be an ordeal that property owners would just as soon avoid. Increasing the up front move-in costs is a great way to take the risk of renting to students.

Screening and Effective Communication Are Key

Being able to effectively screen and accurately size-up potential renters can be important regardless of their age group and circumstances and property owners who are able to develop an effective rapport with their tenants are far more likely to enjoy a stress and problem-free rent cycle. Even the best leasing contracts may not always cover every situation or eventuality, and the property owners and landlords who take the time and make the effort needed to get to know their tenants, both before the sign the lease and after they have moved in, may be much better equipped to deal with any issues that may develop.

Use a Lettings Agency

If you are not located in the same area as your property, then a lettings agency that specialises in student lettings will take the hassle out of renting your property. If you’re a landlord looking to let your property in the West Yorkshire area, Priestley Lettings should be your first choice property letting agent.

Priestley Lettings rise to becoming the most recognised and trusted Leeds & Bradford property letting agent was built on providing a level of personalised service that’s second to none, matched with an extensive knowledge of the local property market.

Our comprehensive management service means we take complete control of your rental from start to finish, giving you the hassle free experience you should come to expect.

If you’d like to find out more about the pros and cons of HMO or student properties, read our recent blog: What is an HMO & Are They a Good Investment?