Despite uncertainty around Brexit, the student property market is predicted to rise by 72% between 2014 and the end of 2019* and is set to remain an attractive option for landlords across the UK.
Landlord insurance provider, Towergate, conducted a study of 500 undergraduate students across the UK to find out how landlords can succeed within the student property market. Results revealed certain mismatches between how landlords are conducting their businesses and how students would prefer them to.
The survey revealed that the average student in the UK pays between £300 and £499 per month to rent a room in a property they share with at least two other tenants. But just how should a student landlord go about finding a student property and subsequently maintaining good communications with student tenants?
Product, price, location
Results showed that large bedrooms are the most sought-after property feature for students – so much so that landlords could be forgiven for converting the living room into an additional bedroom, given that students say they value a fast internet connection as much as a comfy living room.
Student tenants may be more budget-conscious, but most would pay more money if their landlord provided cleaning services as part of the tenancy contract.
Although the student property market is fast-moving, with a high turnover of tenants, 68% of students would prefer to remain in the same property throughout their time at university.
Surprisingly perhaps, most students (64%) would prefer to live close to a supermarket than restaurants, bars or even their university campus. Less than half of students (43%) can commute to their university campus within 15 minutes, and some 28% rely on public transport to get to lectures and seminars.
Staying on top of communications
Although face-to-face and telephone contact between landlords and tenants is the most common, students would rather use email to communicate with their landlord than any other method.
Only 5% of students have communicated with their landlord through an instant messaging app like WhatsApp, but 15% say they would prefer this to telephone or email.
Although just 15% of students are dissatisfied by their current accommodation, one-in-five (20%) say they have had disappointing experiences with landlords.
When asked about what behaviour frustrates them the most, 73% of students said a landlord who is slow to respond and deal with any issues they report is their biggest gripe, closely followed by landlords who visit unannounced – which is, in fact, illegal.
Alison Wild from Towergate commented:
“Student accommodation can be a rewarding investment for landlords. However, it’s important that student landlords consider the insurance implications of renting out houses in multiple occupancy (HMOs) as well as the possibility that the property may annually be empty for over 30 days and therefore require unoccupied property insurance.”