August 08, 2012
Attracting and Keeping Quality Student Renters
Each year, colleges and universities welcome a new flock of students, many of whom have left home for the first time and are looking for a rental property. This is a great opportunity because it represents a steady supply of tenants for landlords. But it’s important to be aware of the unique challenges, as well as advantages, that student renters present.
Pros – student renters are typically:
- Easy to find
- Simple to please
- Looking to rent for about three to four years
- Able to afford a higher rent as they often share a 2 or 3-bedroom unit
Cons – student renters may be prone to:
- Making late rent payments
- Damaging property
- Hosting loud parties
- Breaking leases
Securing the Best Student Renters
Having said that, renting to student tenants isn’t drastically different from renting to anyone else. You just have to make sure to screen properly and to clearly establish expectations and responsibilities.
Here are four tips to help you attract and keep the best student renters:
1. Use social media. Today’s students practically grew up on their computers. They’re very tech-savvy, with most logging several hours a week on social media. So take advantage of blogs and social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, to write about your property and encourage comments or reviews. The more students you get talking about – and interested in – your property, the more prospects you’ll have to choose from.
2. Promote student-friendly aspects. Let student renters know the advantages of renting from you. For example, your property may be within walking distance of campus, or near hip restaurants and coffeehouses. Make a list of your property’s key selling points (from a student perspective) and include those features in your advertising.
You can also look into how to write tenant-attracting Craigslist ads. The more appealing your listing is to students, the more selective you can be in picking your tenants.
3. Ask for a guarantor and employment history. With most student renters, running a credit check is fruitless because they don’t have much of a credit history. But you still need a way of protecting your investment and ensuring that you’re renting to the right people. Your prospective tenant’s employment history gives you a sense of their past earnings and responsibilities. You may also want to ask for references, which will provide some insight into your prospect’s character.
In addition, it’s always a good idea to have a guarantor (usually a parent) accept financial and legal responsibility for student tenants. When you’re ready to rent, this video shows you how ApplyVista’s online applicant form can help ensure that all necessary fields – including guarantor information and consent – are properly completed before you assess prospective tenants.
4. Set realistic student expectations. Many students are living on their own for the first time and may not have a clear understanding of what’s involved in caring for a property or what their responsibilities entail. By providing information packs outlining your rules and regulations, as well as expectations about things like noise levels, cleanliness and recycling, you can ensure there is no ambiguity about your tenants’ obligations.
5.) Ensure your property is online. Students live their lives on the Web and on their phones. Make sure they can pay apply for the unit online, pay their rent online and ask for maintenance requests through the convenience of their iPhone. (Be sure to check out our full array of property management products here.)
You should also draw up a detailed inventory of the property’s condition prior to renting, and make it clear that the property must be left in the same condition as when tenants first move in. Make sure you review your rules and inventory with your prospective tenants before signing a rental agreement; this will reduce the risk of future confusion and disagreement.
Overall, student tenants present a great opportunity; all you have to do is be selective and thorough in your screening process to make sure you find the best prospects.