Loading...

STUDENT LETS I was recently approached by some wanabe landlords for my expert advice and opinion on student lets, I was please to advice as follows

Introduction That investors and landlords who want to maximise their profit should opt for HMO properties or student lets, this is student rentals typically offer one of the highest yielding opportunities for buy-to-let landlords, earning an average rental return of 6.5%1 if you get it all right. However landlord must be aware that not every lender would lend to landlords who plan to rent their property out to students for mere reason of protecting their interest and some lenders would only lend in these circumstances if you have been a landlord for a specified period of time. The following points would make student lets the right investment for any landlord or investor.

Location The property must be in one of the key student locations, often close to college and entertainment venues.

Property must-haves Students like clean properties and reassurance that they are dealing with a good landlord preferably with proven record. Students nowadays like shiny bathrooms and kitchens, open plan kitchen-diners, double beds. Properties would earn extra points if they have, en-suite bathrooms and outside space. If a property doesn't have these features, it's not to say that it won't rent but the landlord may need to adjust their expectations on income. Internet/Wi-Fi: This is now the bear minimum expectation a property should have. Washing and other cleaning facilities: Landlord must be prepared to provide washing machine, landlords are advised to have some form of control in place (e.g coin operated) otherwise they'll discover they are paying a huge electric bill.

Property licencing Landlords are advised to get in touch with their local council to find out if special licencing is required (this varies from borough to borough). Student properties are usually houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) - homes rented to at least three people comprising two or more households who share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. From 1 October 2018, the government will require all local councils to operate mandatory licencing for HMOs with five or more tenants. These new regulations will also bring in minimum bedroom sizes and require landlords to adhere to council refuse schemes. Many councils also operate additional and selective licencing schemes which bring student rentals into their jurisdiction.

Marketing In my experience the cheapest and best form of marketing is referral, landlords should aim to have a good relationship with the students before asking for referrals. Landlords can go it alone with their marketing but it may help to join a student housing affiliation scheme to maximise demand. To be included in an affiliation scheme, landlords may also need to gain accreditation and demonstrate they follow best practice in student housing.

Using a letting agent In each market, there are usually a handful of letting agents that have in-depth experience of the student market and it can pay dividends to tap into their specialist knowledge. Depending on experience and availability, landlords will need to decide whether to go for a 'find only' service or to add 'ongoing management' on top.

Tenant checks Apart from confirming the eligibility to rent in this country (right to stay in the UK), Landlord should run other checks before letting their property as follows evidence of each tenant's financial circumstances, references and guarantor information. The 'right to rent' check became mandatory for landlords throughout England on 1 February 2016 and is especially important for landlords when dealing with overseas students.

Tenancy agreement Student properties can be let under a joint tenancy or a series of individual tenancies (single room lets) and typically have either a 48 or 52 week duration. A joint tenancy means all tenants are jointly liable for any rent arrears or damage to the property. So, for example, if one tenant moves out, the landlord can pursue the remaining tenants (as well as the tenant who has left) for any monies due. In many cases, student landlords also ask for a guarantor, typically a parent who will step in to pay the rent if the student doesn't.

Landlord insurance All properties should have the correct and suitable insurance in place to satisfy their lender, and even if there is no mortgage in place because students lets should be treated as a business and therefore to protect your business it's advisable that the right insurance is put in place. Regular home insurance policies don't provide all the cover landlords need and specialist residential landlord policies are therefore required.

Regular inspections and trouble-shooting Because of the often lack of care exhibited and the expected high turnover in this sort of market it is recommended that inspection is carried out once every 2 months, yes this is high expectation but it is the name of the game. It's important to keep an eye on the condition of the property and deal with any issues promptly, especially where they might give rise to health and safety problems. For example, bikes in hallways can block potential fire escapes and more landlords are providing secure bike storage for this reason. Also, a busy laundry schedule without adequate ventilation might lead to damp problems if left unchecked.

Maintenance and refurbishment Student lets and HMO's get a lot of wear and tear and landlords need to be prepared for regular maintenance. Deep cleaning is recommended between tenancies and regular painting is a good idea especially in heavy traffic areas. For more involved refurbishments, like a new kitchen or bathroom, it can be difficult to find a time that suits everyone but the long summer holidays are usually a good option. Alternatively, provided your tradesmen are lined up for a quick turnaround, there might be time over the Christmas break as the students won't typically return until the third week in January.



Services

Lettings
Our agency began as a letting agency many years ago, so we know our stuff when it comes to the rental market. We pride ourselves on professional marketing and reducing void periods through correct pricing at current market rates.
Property Management
We have a portfolio of almost 200 managed properties in and around the Croydon area let out to working professionals. With a dedicated team and specialised supporting software, any property we take on is in the very best of hands.
Sales
Our talented sales team have demonstrable experience in achieving and exceeding asking price on sales, and routinely complete on instructions well above their vendors’ bottom line, and we marry this efficiency with a personal and detailed experience.
Financial Advice
At great benefit to our sales clients, we have an in-house broker with nearly 15 years of experience dealing with all kinds of mortgages. We offer free and detailed mortgage advice tailored to the individual’s needs and are happy to consider all circumstances.
Property Valuations
Not only do we have a feature for instant valuation estimates, we also offer free, no obligation market appraisals for your property by an industry professional who can provide you with expert advice on all aspects of property marketing.
Professional Marketing
Our marketing team have been trained in professional photography and, by making sure our advertisements are visible on social media and in the local area, we are able to provide the absolute best exposure for your property.