Now could be the time to rent to the student market
With the downturn of the economy and the Governments policy over the last few years to increase the number of students in university, renting to the student market might not be such a bad idea.
More and more people are deciding to go to university or to extend their studies due to the lack of jobs meaning an increased demand for student lets. University applications for 2010 are 12% higher than last year which could lead to a shortage in student accommodation.
Students may have a bad reputation for nosiness, poor hygiene and lack of respect but property specialists claim this is an unfair stereotype and students can prove to be excellent tenants, especially if you target the higher end of the market.
There are currently about 88% of university students living in privately rented accommodation providing landlords with a huge opportunity to rent their properties out with relatively short void periods. Most students will need accommodation for 10-11 months of the year meaning during the summer months there is the potential to rent to holidaymakers.
Students are also less likely to have bad debts as they will usually get loans each term and in some cases grants to help them with their living costs while at university. Parents and guardians also often help out or act as guarantors on the contract if the student is unable to make a rental payment.
A survey by accommodationforstudents.com of over 1,100 students found that students rated big bedrooms and kitchens with lots of surface space top of their list. 36% of students said that living near the university campus is crucial and cheap rent was not far behind this.
Students are becoming increasingly picky about their living space wanting to live somewhere modern but affordable. 26% said the biggest factor to put them off a property is the kitchen, 25% said horrible decor, 24% said a small bedroom and 21% said a terrible living room.
Simon Thompson, Managing Director for accommodationforstudents.com said, “Most students are living away from home for the first time and so sharing with their friends is a real buzz. Properties that sleep three or more students tend to be the most popular across the UK for this reason, but there is still a place for two bed flats as some, often older, students prefer to live with a partner.”
In order to attract students to your buy-to-let property landlords should carry out research of the local area. University towns such as Manchester, Leeds, Bournemouth and Bath are full of students needing accommodation. They should be located near to the university campus, be furnished with things such as beds, desks, sofas and wardrobes and be a good size with modern decor and furnishings.
Refurbishing your property to a good standard is also a good idea as it will probably increase the value of the house and will give you the flexibility to remortgage if you wish to withdraw equity. Maintaining a property to a high standard will attract the higher end of the student market that will be prepared to pay more rent and will be likely to keep the house in good condition.