While student lets are subject to more rules and regulations than regular buy-to-lets, landlords who have done their research often find student lets to be a profitable investment.
If you’re new to renting to students or acting as a landlord, you’ll need to get your head around what your responsibilities are as a student landlord to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
For this article, the team of expert student letting agents at Student Haus have shared their top seven tips for student landlords.
What are the seven top tips for student landlords?
If you’re a new student landlord, the advice below will help to ensure your student let is run professionally and according to relevant regulations, helping you to provide students with a better service, avoid making costly mistakes, and reduce the risk of problems arising later down the line.
· Comply with appropriate legislation
The most important thing you can do when letting to students is to ensure that your student let complies with all relevant rules and regulations.
Failure to do so could put the health and safety of your tenants at risk and land you with a penalty, fine, or even a prison sentence!
Most student buy-to-let properties will require an HMO (houses in multiple occupancy) license.
You can find out more about the criteria for a student HMO and how to get a license on the government website here.
You must also check that any rooms you plan to use as bedrooms meet the minimum floor area dimensions.
When renting to students, landlords are also required to carry out a Right to Rent check on students before they move in.
· Furnishing your student property
Most students require fully furnished student accommodation, so it’s important to ensure your student buy-to-let features all the basics required to live comfortably.
This includes beds and mattresses, cooker, fridge/freezer, seating, desks, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, and television.
It is cost-effective to invest in durable and long-lasting furniture that will withstand a fair amount of wear and tear.
Opt for furniture, carpets, rugs, and curtains in darker colours and shades to keep them looking good for longer. Buying second-hand is advisable as long as the items are still in good condition.
· Invest in a letting agent
Investing in the services of a letting agent that specialises in student accommodation can help you to maximise your return on investment and outsource a lot of the admin and daily running of your student buy-to-let property.
If you want to enjoy the advantages of owning a student let without the stress and hassle of running it, then investing in a letting agent could be the right option for you.
Some of the services that our team of letting agents here at Student Haus provide include:
- Advertising your student let
- Showing students around the property
- Arranging tenancy deposits
- Administrative tasks
- Carrying out property maintenance and repairs
- Organising gas and electricity safety checks
- Collecting rent and chasing rent arrears
Using a specialist letting agent also offers you peace of mind that you are complying with all student accommodation regulations for landlords, which is particularly helpful if you are a new student landlord.
· Tenancy agreement
All landlords are required to draw up a tenancy agreement for their tenants to sign.
It is a legal agreement between landlord and tenants detailing important information about the tenancy and the responsibilities and obligations of each party. Most student accommodation tenancy agreements are either joint or sole fixed-term, shorthold tenancies.
Your tenancy agreement should include the following important information:
- Personal details of landlord and tenant
- Start and end date of the agreement
- Details of the deposit and the scheme it will be kept in
- The terms of the tenancy
- How much rent is and how it should be paid
- What will happen if rent is paid late
- How bills are to be paid (are they included or not)
- Details of guarantor if required
· Health and safety checks
As a landlord, it is your responsibility to ensure that your student rental accommodation is safe and free from hazards. Failure to do so endangers the safety of your tenants and puts you at risk of penalties, fines, or even prosecution.
Before tenants move in, and regularly thereafter, you are responsible for arranging safety checks for:
Gas safety – this must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Electrical safety – this includes electrical appliances as well as sockets and light fixtures.
Fire safety – you mustensure that all fire safety regulations are being adhered to.
The government website provides more information about landlord safety responsibilities.
· Student landlord insurance
Student accommodation can be subject to more wear and tear than your average buy-to-let and sometimes unexpected damages do occur.
Taking out landlord insurance can help you to cover the costs of any unexpected repairs or damage to the property that cannot be covered by your tenant’s deposits.
Many student landlord insurance providers also offer cover for malicious damage to the property, loss of rent due to an unoccupied property, and loss of rent due to a tenant defaulting on their payments. Landlord insurance can provide you with some peace of mind and financial protection if you do end up running into problems with your tenants.
· Periodic inspections
Carrying out periodic inspections to both the interior and exterior of your student property can help you to identify any problems or damage early on and reduce the risk of receiving a nasty surprise and hefty repair bill at the end of the tenancy.
Just be sure to provide your tenants with plenty of notice of the inspection, 24 hours’ notice is required at minimum.
Student Haus is here to help
For more student landlord tips and advice on renting to students in Salford, Liverpool, Bolton etc, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team of specialist student letting agents at Student Haus by calling us on 0161 694 6427.