Renting to college students can pose a dilemma for some landlords because properties near college campuses can be very profitable, but they also bring its own special maintenance challenges.
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of renting to college students and the maintenance issues from Keepe.
The pros of renting to college students
- Low vacancy – properties located nearby colleges attract a steady stream of prospective renters. As new students join the university and graduates depart, there will always be students looking for housing that allows them to live nearby their school.
- Leveraging value – while this changes from college town to college town and is largely dependent on the overall size of the student body of a particular university, in most cases homeowners and/or property managers can easily demand higher rent prices for properties that would typically be worth for far lower (as far as size, amenities and special features are considered). In high-demand years, in which a particularly high number of students is looking for off-campus housing, it is possible to tailor rent to demand and secure particularly high profits.
- Necessity – students are rather low-maintenance. Their top priority is their ability to easily travel to their university and be able to enjoy greater freedoms than they would in their family home or in a college-owned dormitory. Keeping college-age tenants satisfied should be fairly easy and does not require being able to offer a property with high-end features.
The cons of renting to college students
- Turnarounds – If a landlord or property manager wants the stability of having a long-term renter, students are unlikely to fulfill this expectation. For most properties, it is rare enough for the same renter – or group of renters – to live in the same property for all four years of their college experience. Most renters only stick around for one school year at a time.
- Inexperience and Immaturity – college students are new to renting. They have no rental history or references to evaluate. They often do not know what committing to a lease really means.
- Lifestyle – college students may be inconsiderate of their surroundings as they are too busy with school or enjoying themselves a little too much. They can throw parties or play loud music. Keeping the space clean and tidy is not a priority for many of them. They can compromise the actual conditions of a property.
- Damage – their unique lifestyle brings wear and tear. A property viewed by tenants as a very temporary space can lead to it being damaged by accidents or disregard.
5 Maintenance Tips if you are renting to college students
Demand Higher Deposits and Guarantees:
When it comes to opening a property to unreliable tenants, it’s definitely better to be safe rather than sorry. Higher security deposits and even the involvement of parents or guardians who can co-sign to cover repair costs is one of the best ways to stay protected.
Rethink Pet-Friendly Policies:
For some college-age renters, being able to own their very own, first pet is one of the freedoms they seek alongside independently living in a place of their own. While allowing pets in a property – even with a higher security deposit to match – can make it stand out as the ideal place for pet-loving students, it can easily increase the gravity of damages that might occur. Younger pet owners are not always the most responsible. Remember they are busy with academics and extracurricular interests. Think twice about your pet policy and college students.
Invest in Regular Checkups:
Schedule regular maintenance checkups. It is the best way to avoid suddenly finding damage at the end of the lease. Do not wait until the very end of a tenant’s occupancy period to check. Tenants should be informed from the start of their occupancy that seasonal checkups and inspections will be performed in the property. This will help holding them accountable.
Structural Upgrades Come First:
When thinking about upgrading or touching-up a certain part of the property – especially as a part of a “rental turn” – it’s important to think of what would be most helpful in adding an extra line of protection for the property. Your money will probably be better spent changing out a “damage- magnet” – like carpet. It is prone to stains, discoloration, bad odors and tears. Make flooring a low- maintenance, practical feature.
Consider a New Maintenance Solution:
With inexperienced tenants come a lot of emergencies, from accidental damage to practical, everyday concerns. Some tenants might have no idea how to operate a garbage disposal system or change a lightbulb. This can mean frequent calls for help. Property managers overseeing a large number of properties may benefit from having a maintenance professional on-call.
College students remain a one-of-a-kind tenant demographic that should not be underestimated. Their age, lifestyle, and overall needs are all important factors that a homeowner and/or property manager must take into consideration.
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Keepe is an on-demand maintenance solution for property managers and independent landlords. The company makes hundreds of independent contractors and handymen available for maintenance projects at rental properties. Keepe is available in the Greater Seattle area, Phoenix, San Francisco Bay and San Diego areas.