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Top 15 Tips for Renting to Students

Posted in Housing, Student Housing

Top 15 Tips for Renting to Students

Wouldn’t it be great if landlords could use a crystal ball to determine which applicants would make the best tenants?  It would certainly make a property manager’s job easier!  Wrong choices can often lead to problems down the road and affect the landlord’s bottom line negatively.

Now more than ever, landlords need to utilize effective marketing tools and pre-screening methods, rather than a crystal ball.  Often, it’s just easier to resort back to the same demographic of tenants they have always rented to.  But is that always the best option?

We recommend leasing agents ask themselves the question, “Have I considered renting to students?”  Often landlords avoid student tenants because of the typical stereotype – students will party non-stop, bother other residents and damage the property!  However, in recent years, this stereotype has started to diminish as landlords are learning that students make great tenants.

Many colleges and universities are implementing Be a Good Neighbour Programs and educating students on how to behave responsibly in their communities.  Students want to find a home away from home while studying.  The student rental market is a growing industry throughout North America.  Academic institutions are experiencing record enrollments, due to high unemployment rates and competitive job markets.  As a result, the need for student housing accommodations in their surrounding communities is increasing.  Property management companies and private owners are starting to embrace this concept more and are welcoming students into their rental communities.

The following list has been created to help landlords market to students effectively, adjust to the needs of students, and outlines what most students are looking for in a rental property.
















15 Tips for Renting to Students:

  1. When advertising a rental unit to college and university students, the local newspaper is not a recommended method.  Choose a specialized website that caters to this demographic.
  2. Within a rental ad, consider using a bulleted list to provide rental property descriptions and information, instead of a paragraph.  A list is easier to read and provides brief details that can be skimmed through.
  3. When creating a rental listing, keep the targeted audience in mind.  Include information about the property, amenities, features, neighborhood, etc. that would be of interest to students.
  4. Include a variety of pictures with online rental advertisements, both interior and exterior.  Students may skip over listings without pictures, especially if they are moving from out-of-town.
  5. Avoid vague or ambiguous statements in rental descriptions.  Be clear and very specific, so students are aware of what’s included with the rental and expected by the landlord.
  6. Students enjoy the convenience of paying bills and rent online; be sure to highlight this option in the rental property listing, if it’s available.
  7. Setting up internet, cable, and other utilities can be a hassle for students. If you offer an all-inclusive rental, it may appeal more to students!
  8. If internet is included with the monthly rental rate, make sure you have enough bandwidth to avoid being charged fees for going over your limit.
  9. For all-inclusive rental units, consider some upgrades like low-flow faucet aerators or energy-efficient appliances, to generate energy savings.
  10. When renting a unit to multiple individuals (roommates), avoid the ‘one tenant is in charge’ approach.  Have each student sign the lease agreement and collect rent from each individual separately, rather than as a group.
  11. If parking is included with the rental unit, specify how many parking spaces are available for tenants, as well as guests.
  12. Provide a range of contact methods for students to get in touch with the landlord or leasing agent.  Many students may prefer to email or text, rather than make a phone call.
  13. Students will often have little or no credit history.  Consider requesting character references or a guarantor, as an alternative to conducting a credit check.
  14. If students are required to cut the grass, shovel the driveway or do other basic maintenance and up-keep, be sure to stipulate this in the rental agreement and provide all the necessary equipment to perform the required tasks.
  15. Offer flexible leasing terms to accommodate student’s needs.  The study term for most educational programs is typically eight months.  A twelve-month lease may deter students from renting a property, even if they are permitted to sublet the unit during summer months. Consider offering flexible and short-term leasing options for students.

Students can also be a great source of tenant referrals in the future for landlords.  A positive relationship and good communications is essential.  We recommend that landlords build rapport with student renters and interact with them in the same manner as other tenants.

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