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Top tips for student landlords

01/11/2017
There are lots of benefits to becoming a student landlord. Student lets tend to offer particularly high yields and demand is strong in student areas, particularly in Bristol city centre, Redland, Clifton and the Gloucester Road.

Despite this, there are some common problems that can arise when letting property out to students, so we thought we would share some top tips (from our extensive experience!) of the types of issues you might face, with some simple ways to resolve them.

Prepare your property

We’ve all heard the saying “Failure to plan means planning to fail!” We agree! Taking a few steps to prepare the property before the tenants arrive means the whole process can run much more smoothly.

We recommend getting a professional inventory (with dated photos) carried out by a third party. For a small cost, the check in and out of the tenants can be worry-free. This leaves a good impression with the students, and having a third party involved means your case would be easier to argue if the deposit goes into dispute.

It is also worth having a professional clean before tenants move in. This puts the situation on strong footing, and if you keep the invoice as proof, you can encourage the tenants to do the same on their departure.

This means the property will turn over in the same condition (basic wear and tear aside) and there are no issues at check out.

Keep communications lines open and positive

The best way is to start as you mean to go on and establish a fair and open relationship with your tenants. We recommend organising a house meeting when they first move in. This way you will have a chance to talk to the tenants about any quirks with the property and it gives them a chance to ask questions they may have.

An example of a common dispute is condensation. A frequent student complaint is that the house is “damp” but more often that not, it is living habits that can cause it! Chatting through issues such as this at the beginning avoid any problems later on.

Regular house visits from you as the landlord are crucial. It presents the clear message that you actively manage and are interested in the property. We’d say visiting every 4-6 months is the best bet. Again, this helps to keep an open and a good relationship with the students.

Protect your income.

Student tenants are harder to reference using standard processes due to the fact that they don’t have regular income. Generally speaking, they move straight from living at home, so it is a new lifestyle all round. Be sure that you have a guarantor agreement signed for each student tenant. Ideally you need to reference the guarantor too as they will be responsible for paying the rent in the event that the tenant fails to pay.

Be prepared in case of damage.

The worry of property damage goes hand in hand with the student lifestyle. In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be any issues, but you need to be prepared for the worst. You must register your tenant’s deposits within a government-approved scheme. This is a legal requirement! Not registering means the tenant could claim compensation up to three times the deposit amount and it will also mean that you will not be able to issue a Section 21 notice on your tenants. If there is a dispute at the end of the tenancy, a free dispute resolution service is offered by the deposit providers.

Noise complaints

When you think of students, loud noises come to mind, whether that is playing music loudly, or returning home late from a night out. Talk though this in your house meeting, clearly laying out reasonable
expectations with due consideration to be given to neighbours and the local community. Explain that any noise complaints will be taken very seriously.

If noise does become a problem, it is best to nip it in the bud as early as possible. Take steps to notify the student liaison officer for the university and the council where each has processes and procedures to deal with excessive noise.

With all this in mind, its important to remember that not all of these issues are a given. Stay in frequent communication with your student tenants, and any problems should be resolved without too much fuss.

If you are a student landlord looking for new management from a trusted agent, switching to us is simple and easy. We even offer the first 3 months of management for free. Get in touch with the team today on 01173291400.

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