6 Things Landlords Need to Know About Renting to College Students

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.

Conclusion

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.

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