Landlord and property

5 tips for managing student tenancy agreements

Are you considering renting out your property to student tenants?

It’s an easy cliché that students spend their time hosting loud parties and selling your furniture to buy course supplies, but this is actually somewhat of a myth. The majority of students nowadays spend half of their monthly outgoings on rent alone, which means that your property is as much of an investment for them as it is for you.

Whether it’s making sure all documentation is complete or that your property meets legal compliance, it’s important to ensure that every student who rents from you is happy and safe. Read our 5 top tips for advice on managing student tenancy agreements.

1. Communication is key

The first rule of thumb when it comes to managing student tenancy agreements is setting out clear guidelines. This includes providing set deadlines for signing contracts, for paying deposits and for instalments of rent.

Once you’ve found suitable tenants, it’s important to ensure they sign the contract well in advance of the start date stipulated in your landlord student tenancy agreement. If not, there's a risk that students could drop out before the start of the semester leaving you with a short time to find alternative tenants. This could result in a significant loss of rental income for the year.

Along with agreeing deadlines for your tenants before they move into your property, it’s also important to check in with them on a regular basis once they are actually living there. This provides your tenants with the opportunity to let you know how things are going, and whether there are any issues that need to be dealt with. Many student landlords choose to allocate a lead tenant who acts as a spokesperson for the property. This avoids dealing with five or six different people, making it easier to organise things like property inspections or house repairs.

2. Student tenancy agreement guarantors

As well as making sure that all contracts are signed, it is your responsibility to ensure that all relevant documentation is signed by a guarantor, too. For most students, this will be a parent or guardian. Student tenancy agreement guarantors should be UK-based – otherwise it’s impossible to get money back if problems arise with rent. Again, you should make sure that this process starts as early as possible, as you’ll need a guarantor for every individual who will live in your property.

3. Make sure you’re covered>

While it’s important that landlords have a good understanding of student tenancy rights, equally as important is protecting yourself. Student landlord insurance is essential for providing cover that standard home insurance does not. This type of landlord insurance includes loss of rent, alternative accommodation costs and extended unoccupied cover, to account for the fact that the property will not be occupied by the person who owns it.

4. Legal compliance for student properties

Perhaps the most important part of being a landlord is ensuring that the people living in your property are safe – particularly if they are new students who may not have lived away from home before. Safety responsibilities for landlords include:

• Electrics being in safe condition

Gas fires and boilers being checked annually by a Gas Safe engineer

• Providing tenants with a gas safety certificate when they move in

• Fitting smoke alarms on every floor

• Fitting CO alarms if you have any solid fuel appliances or log burners

It’s also a good idea to provide instruction booklets for household appliances, and other recommendations such as regularly airing the property and not drying too much washing indoors, to avoid dampness occurring.

5. Keep the best ones for yourself!

Student degrees usually take three to four years to complete, with many students choosing to pursue postgraduate study. So, if you’ve found good student tenants who keep your property in good nick and pay their rent on time, make sure you keep hold of them!

As well as being safe in the knowledge that your tenants are reliable, renewing a student tenancy agreement also reduces the risk of a costly period of unoccupancy. Some students would prefer to stay in their university town over the summer period, so allowing them to remain in the property (or sublet, if they decide to return home) during this time is a strong incentive for them to renew their tenancy agreement.

Remember that student communities are tight-knit, and in some university towns good accommodation is limited. If your tenants have had a positive experience, they’re likely to recommend you to other students. This means that you may be able to find next years’ tenants without even having to advertise!

Student landlord insurance with Endsleigh

With over 25 years’ experience in the landlord market, Endsleigh’s landlord insurance provides extended unoccupancy cover when your property is let to students. If you want to find out more about the insurance policies we offer, contact us today on 0333 234 1552.

Are you a landlord deliberating whether to rent out your property to student tenants? Read our blog on how to become a student landlord to find out everything you need to know.

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