For landlords in student-dominated towns all over the country, that means the traditional yearly changeover, with a new intake of student tenants that have been let loose from mum and dad and are living alone for the first time. How can landlords make sure their properties are prepare for the influx of students, and what steps can they take to ensure a successful tenancy all-round?
Know your responsibilities
If you’ve been a landlord for many years, you may already have a good understanding of your responsibilities to tenants, but it’s always worth brushing up on them before the new academic year begins. Put health and safety at the top of the priority list – make sure you have smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and other safety-related items within the property. Remember, most of these students haven’t been away from home before, and might experience some problems with cooking appliances! You should also test all electrical items included within the property, and ensure the Gas Safety Certificate is up to date.
Make sure your contract is appropriate
Take a look over the AST you’re issuing to tenants and ensure it’s still appropriate. Perhaps in recent years you’ve had trouble with property inspections, so it may be worth revising the section on how much notice you need to give before inspecting the property. Perhaps you’ve had issues recovering rent from those who fall behind, so introducing a system of penalties or higher interest might be advisable.
Make sure you have a landlord insurance policy that covers student tenancies – this particular type of insurance has a number of caveats which will help protect your investment and your income stream. If you’re offering the property furnished, or part-furnished, you should also consider comprehensive contents cover, so that you’ll be covered if any of the furniture is left in an undesirable condition come the end of the tenancy.
Students largely get a bad rep for being poor tenants, but the majority of them are conscientious and sensible – well, after Fresher’s Week anyway! Many landlords find students to be perfectly reasonable tenants, and with such high demand for properties in student-populated areas, landlords taking on student tenants will find they’re never without a steady income stream.
As long as you understand your responsibilities, be sure to invest in appropriate landlord insurance and make sure the AST is suited to your (and the tenants’) needs, you’re highly likely to have a very successful tenancy, and you’ll benefit from the consistent profit that involves.