Becoming a landlord can be a lucrative endeavour, but when dealing with student tenants, it often comes with its own unique set of challenges. Students are usually more transient and have different expectations compared to other renters. To navigate this demanding market successfully, student landlords must be well-informed and prepared.

Stay abreast of changing legislation

Something to consider which applies to any landlord, but especially those accommodating students, is to stay up to date with the constantly evolving rental legislation. Rules and regulations can change frequently, impacting various aspects of property management. As a student landlord, it is essential to be aware of these changes to ensure compliance.

HMO licensing and compliance

If you are renting out a property as a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO), you must ensure that it is suitably licensed and adheres to all required legislation. HMOs have specific regulations regarding fire safety, room sizes, and amenities. Failure to comply can lead to significant penalties. Regularly inspect and maintain your property to meet these standards, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of your student tenants.

Understand council tax rules

Council tax rules can vary depending on whether your property is occupied by students or individuals in employment. To avoid confusion and potential disputes, it is imperative to understand these distinctions. Consult with your local authority to gain clarity on the council tax rules applicable to your student rental property.

Regularly change exterior door locks

Security is paramount, especially in student accommodation. It is advisable to change exterior door locks between tenancies to enhance the safety of your property. This simple measure can help prevent unauthorised access and provide peace of mind to both you and your tenants.

Furnish your property thoughtfully

If your student rental property is furnished, opt for items that are easy to maintain and less prone to damage. Students can be less cautious with belongings, so investing in durable furniture and furnishings can save you money and hassle in the long run. Consider materials that are resistant to stains and wear, making it easier to keep the property in good condition.

Settle students in and clarify responsibilities

When students move into your property, take the time to settle them in and explain each of your responsibilities. Provide a comprehensive tenancy agreement that clearly outlines the terms and conditions of the rental. Ensuring that everyone is on the same page from the get-go can prevent misunderstandings later on.

Create a comprehensive letting manual

A letting manual for your property is a valuable resource. Include essential information such as emergency procedures, the location of the stopcock, appliance operation guides, waste collection schedules and your contact information. This manual can help students navigate their new living space and foster a sense of responsibility.

Be a responsible and firm landlord

To be a good landlord means looking after your property, maintaining it and promptly addressing any maintenance issues. Tenants, including students, generally appreciate a well-maintained home. However, it is key to strike a balance between being accommodating and firm. If students misbehave or breach the tenancy agreement, address the issues formally and enforce the terms of the agreement.

Minimise portable electrical equipment

Lastly, avoid providing excessive portable electrical equipment. Most students prefer to bring their own devices. If you do supply any electrical equipment, ensure that it is regularly tested and maintained to meet safety standards.

Renting to students can be a profitable venture, but it requires careful planning and management. By staying informed about legislation, complying with regulations, understanding council tax rules, and implementing simple steps to ensure the property is maintained, you will create a positive and productive landlord-student relationship while safeguarding your investment for many years to come.

Written by Roger Runswick, Director of The50plus handyman services and home repairs.

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