6 Things Landlords Need to Know About Renting to College Students

Table of Contents

Renting to college students offers a number of opportunities to you as a potential landlord. If you live in a college town, renting your property to college students can offer a steady source of income. Is it worth it to rent to college students? What do you really need to know about college students and their rental habits? Consider these potential factors.

1. 60% of Full-Time Public University Students Live Off-Campus

While that leaves 40% of students taking advantage of campus housing, the majority of students at your local university are probably living off-campus. Some of them live with their parents. Of that don’t, the majority live in rental housing. As a landlord, that means you have the potential to bring in those students as renters.

2. Parents Often Pick up the Rent for Students Living in Rental Housing

7 out of 10 parents put away at least some money for their students to use when they’re ready to go to college. Many of them also plan to help their students pick up their other bills, especially if they move away from home and head off to a college or university out of state. In many cases, that means that parents are the ones picking up the rental payments for their college-aged students. Not only does that increase the likelihood that you, as the landlord, will get paid (and paid on time), it also means that parents may look for options that will allow them to pay the entire semester’s rent up front, rather than waiting until the rent is due each month and juggling those payments. 

3. College Students Have Some Particular “Wants” in Mind When Looking for Rental Housing

If you’re renting to college students, you may want to specifically gear your property toward their needs. College students may have highly specific needs when it comes to their housing, including:

Proximity to campus. Students would, ideally, like to be as close to campus as possible. They don’t want a long commute–and many of them are hoping to be within walking distance of campus, if possible. 

WiFi. Students need access to high-speed internet options to help them complete schoolwork, do research, and handle entertainment. If your property doesn’t offer access to those amenities, consider contacting your local internet provider to learn more about what you can provide. 

Security. Many college students are out on their own for the first time. Not only do their parents want them to be as safe as possible, they may feel more comfortable in a building that prioritizes safety, from cameras watching the doors to heavy doors and solid locks. 

Convenience. Not all students go off to college with the keys to a car already in hand. They’d like to be able to walk easily to locations in your local area. If that’s not possible, college students may prioritize access to public transportation. They also need as many amenities as possible right there in the building, including laundry services. 

Price. Many college students struggle to juggle a job along with their school responsibilities. Knowing that they can find affordable housing can make it easier for them to balance their budgets. Keep in mind that many college students are more likely to prioritize cheap housing options. 

4. When It Comes to College Students, Rent for a Unit Is Often Based on the Number of Bedrooms

The more bedrooms the unit has, the more college students can share the rental–and, therefore, the more rent you can usually charge. College students do not need a home office, a game room, or a home theater. While these things can pose some advantages, including making the property more enticing to non-college-aged renters, college students will often prioritize bedrooms. Take a look at your property and see if there’s a way to put in an additional bedroom or two to make it a more popular choice. 

5. Students Are Often More Content With “Average” Properties

What Landlords Need to Know About Renting to College Students

While some tenants are looking for all the latest amenities, college students frequently prioritize convenience and affordability–and they’re willing to accept an average property in order to get those benefits. Students are less likely to be concerned with having the “latest and greatest” of anything. They have access to campus gym facilities and swimming pools, which means they care less about what a specific property offers with regards to those benefits. As a result, you can often let more slide when it comes to a rental property that you’re renting out to college students. 

6. College Students Are Often Inexperienced When It Comes to Property Maintenance or Handling Issues

While there are many advantages to renting to college students, it’s important that you, as a landlord, also understand the potential downfalls. Many college students don’t have a rental history or much in the way of credit. You can require a cosigner on the lease to help students get their first place, but that doesn’t change the fact that many college-aged renters have little experience keeping up with their own place. For many, this is the first time they’ve been on their own–with a roommate or otherwise. That can mean several challenges:

Not knowing when to call in a maintenance request. Many college students may not know when they need to let you know about a potential problem. They might choose to ignore minor issues long enough that get worse, or they might fail to inform you about problems you need to see to quickly. 

Not keeping the place clean. Sloppy students could lead to pest infestations and other challenges. 

Calling too often. While some students will wait too long to call in potential problems, others might call in over every little detail–which can quickly become frustrating.


Luckily, by preparing for these concerns ahead of time, you can help those students be more successful renters while making your experience, as the landlord, better. Give college students clear guidelines about when to give you a call. Make it easy for them to connect with you, including online maintenance requests, if possible. Equally importantly, ask for a cosigner or require a reasonable deposit if you’re concerned about the potential impact of renting to college students. All these steps can help you take advantage of a location near a local college or university–and benefit you and the local students who choose your property as their residence through their college years. Contact us to learn more.

Share via Email
Share on Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Share on Twitter
Get help from DC's top real estate team.
Founded in 2005, Nomadic is the go-to full service real estate firm in the DMV. We've helped thousands of landlords, investors, and residents and we would love to connect with you next.

Check out more of our blog posts below!

Or search for a different topic:

Scroll to Top

Thinking of selling? Get an instant property value report:

Enhanced Reporting

Your portal includes a selection of extremely useful reports. Reports are available in the “Reports” section, and are distinct from the financial statements. Unlike financial statements which are static records, Reports are dynamic real-time records that will update with current data every time you view them. 

Scroll down to learn more about Reports:

Navigate to the "Reports" module in your portal:

Owner Portal Reports
  • Keep in mind, these reports are dynamic records. They will refresh to display current information every time you view them. 

Enhanced Rent Roll Report:

Enhanced Rent Roll Report
  • The Enhanced Rent Roll Report will show the rent amount, last payment date, move-in date, lease expiration date, and security deposit amount for each of your tenants. 
  • It will also show a portfolio summary with occupancy percentage, vacancy loss, and more!

Unit Comparison Report:

Unit Comparison Report
  • If you own multiple units (or buildings) with Nomadic, you’ll get access to the Unit Comparison Report. 
  • This report enables you to quickly compare financial performance between your units at a glance without toggling between individual reports. 

Income Statement Month-Over-Month:

Income Statement by Month Report
  • The Income Statement Detail – Monthly Report serves as a month-over-month record of portfolio performance. You’ll see itemized income and expense categories and can track monthly. This report will update with fresh data every time you view it. 

Financial Statements

Financial statements will be published to your portal on a monthly basis. The statements are found in your Documents library, and provide a historical record of all financial performance. The statements serve as a snapshot of financial performance over a given period, and are static documents (unlike Reports, the statements do not update/change in real-time). 

Scroll down for more info about the Financial Statements in your Documents library:

The Documents area contains monthly financial statements:

Owner Portal Documents
  • The statements in the Documents are are static documents. They are posted to the portal once a month to serve as a historical record of financial performance. 

Download a statement to see month and YTD financials:

Owner Portal Property Statement

You'll also find a month-over-month operating statement:

Month over Month Statement

Portal Communication Tool

You can use your owner portal to communicate with our team. Any messages you send through the portal will go straight to your Account Manager. When we reply, you’ll get an email notification and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

Here’s an overview of using the communication platform:

Click "Communications" and navigate to "Conversations":

Commincation Dashboard Screenshot
  • The communications module will contain a record of all messages that you create through the portal. 

Click the "New Message" button and send your message:

Owner Portal New Message Screenshot

Responses will show up in the conversation ticket:

Portal Conversation Response Screenshot
  • You’ll get an email notification whenever you get a response, and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

You can reply in-line using the comment box:

Owner Portal Comment

Each conversation will be logged in its entirety:

Portal Conversation Snapshot

Understanding the Ledger

Your portal includes a ledger with all transactions. The ledger is populated with data in real-time as transactions flow through our accounting software. Much of this information is also available in the Reports area, as well as the Statements in your Documents library, but the ledger is the most comprehensive resource for diving into the details. 

Please scroll through the sections below to get a better understanding of how to interpret the ledger. 

By default, transactions are sorted chronologically:

Owner Ledger Dates
  • The date reflected in the lefthand column is the actual transaction date, not the “bill date”. This is the date the transaction was actually processed. 

If you have multiple properties with Nomadic, you'll see the address for each transaction in the "Location" column:

Ledger Property Column
  • You can filter the ledger to look at just one property, all properties, or specific sets of properties. 
  • If you only have one property with us, you’ll just see the ledger for that property. 

The Description column displays the transaction type:

Owner Ledger Description Column
  • BILL: this is an expense transaction, such as for repair costs or management fees.
  • CHARGE: this is a transaction  billed to the tenant, most typically a rent payment. 
  • NACHA EXPORT: this is a credit we processed to your distribution account. This type of transaction is how you get paid! 

The Amount column shows the dollar value of each transaction:

Owner Ledger Amount Column
  • Positive Amounts: if an amount is positive, it reflects a transaction that is payable to you. Typically, this will be a rent payment that we collected from your tenants. On occasion, a positive number could also signify a journal entry or credit adjustment. 
  • Negative Amounts:  if an amount is negative, this is a transaction that is either payable to Nomadic or is an amount that has already been paid to you. Typically this will be for repair costs or management/leasing fees. Owner draws (net distributions into your checking/savings account) also reflect as negative amounts, since they have already been paid to you. 

The Account Balance column shows a sum of positive/negative transactions at a given point in time:

Owner Ledger Account Balance Column
  • Account Balance should always equal zero after a net distribution has been processed. When the balance is zero, this means that all expenses have been paid and you’ve received the remainder as net operating income, leaving a balance of zero (meaning: no one is due any money, as all funds have been distributed appropriately). 

Navigating the Propertyware Owner Portal

Your portal includes some extremely useful features that help you understand your property’s financial performance at a new level, with real-time transparency into every transaction.

Scroll through the snapshots below for an overview of portal navigation! If you need more help or have specific questions about using the portal, you can reach out to your Account Manager any time for a screen share. 

You can filter all info by date range or property:

PW Portal Filters

View a snapshot of income and expenses on your dashboard:

PW Owner Dashboard View

See every transaction in real-time on your ledger:

Owner Portal Ledger View

Statements and forms will be posted to your documents library:

Owner Portal Document Library

View a suite of real-time financial reports:

Portal Reports View

See a running list of all bills, and drill down for more detail:

Owner Portal Bills View

Under Bill Details, you'll find dates/descriptions/amounts and more:

Portal Bill Details

You can also communicate with your Account Manager through the portal:

Owner Portal Communication Tools

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

Net Distribution

You’ll receive a statement via email each time a net distribution is processed, and can view all transaction details in your Propertyware owner portal.