Across the country, college students are gearing up for a new school year. That means securing housing, and for many of these kids, campus housing is not an option. Whether their school is short on housing, their parents are looking for ways to save from ever-rising room and board fees or they simply prefer to live off campus, they’ll choose renting a house or an apartment.
For landlords, student tenants can be lucrative. Many college towns have limited housing available, so vacancy is rarely a problem, and getting market rent—or above—is not unusual. In addition, mom and dad are often paying the rent, so that’s not a problem, either.
On the other hand, student tenants don’t always work out. Some are on their own for the first time and don’t yet realize the impact their actions have on others. Others don’t have mom and dad to back them up, so paying rent on time could be a problem. Students can be noisy, messy, and disrespectful of you, your property and the neighbors. They may not understand the terms of the lease or think that certain rules actually apply to them.
In other words, student tenants are just like the rest of the population. Some are good, some are not so good. So is it worth the hassle to rent to students? Many landlords say “yes!” Renting to students can be a sound business decision when approached from a business standpoint, with firm management, enforcement of the terms of the lease, as well as your rules and regulations.
Ten Tips For Renting to Students
- Never rent without a lease. Go into more detail than you think you need, and review it with your prospective tenants.
- When setting rents and security deposits, take into consideration the potential for higher repair and maintenance costs.
- Get each student tenant’s parent to co-sign the lease, making them responsible for late rent, damages, etc.
- Reinforce to student tenants that unauthorized guests or roommates are not allowed. Each occupant must be on the lease.
- Screen each potential tenant. Even though the students may be young, they could have criminal histories or be a poor credit risk. Tenant screening is a must.
- Determine whether your lease will run for 12 months or for the school year, which could be fewer then 12.
- Be sure the lease states that all tenants are responsible for the entire rent. If one student moves out, his or her share is still due and payable by the remaining tenants.
- Offer online rent payment for the convenience of your tenants and fewer hassles for you.
- Contact the parents or co-signers at the first sign of trouble, whether it’s property damage, noise problems or late rent.
- Enforce your rules. When students know what to expect from you, as well as the consequences of their actions, they are more likely to behave.