In the first instalment of our two-part series looking at the process of becoming a student landlord, StuRents.com, the property portal, talked you through the process of getting your property ready for market. In this part, they’ll take you through the steps from marketing your property, signing the tenancy agreements and welcoming your new tenants.
Get your property seen
Once your property is ready to market you’re going to want to get as many eyes on it as possible – as soon as possible. Whilst the academic year is definitely very seasonal when it comes to lettings, there is an all-year round demand for short term lets, so as soon as your property is ready you’ll want it on the market.
There are some great student-focused letting agents in the market who know exactly when and where to market your property. They will also be a major help in managing the flow of viewings, which can be hectic in the busy season. Of course, you will need to factor these management fees into your income calculations and decide whether it is right for you.
Sorting out the paperwork
Make sure you’ve got your contracts and agreements written up before you find your tenants. There are many templates out there so this shouldn’t take much time at all.
For example, the government offers a template and universities are likely to have one they issue to prospective landlords. If you end up using an estate agent to market your property they will have their own templates as well. If you want anything specific in these contracts that is not covered, allow more time (and maybe money) to take advice and get things drawn up to your satisfaction.
The majority of landlords for students require each tenant to have guarantors to financially guarantee rent. This is often a parent or guardian based in the UK. A guarantor agreement will also be required alongside the tenancy agreement. You should expect this process, including signing by all tenants and guarantors involved, to take a few weeks.
Once the contract is signed, if you have requested a security/damages deposit then you will need to meet statutory requirements to register this deposit with one of the three regulated and approved schemes. You can find more about this here.
Handing over the keys
As with any type of letting though, there are risks. Therefore, before handing over the keys you’ll want to put as many safeguards in place as possible.
It’s good to provide tenants with a ‘welcome pack’ when they arrive. This can contain lots of helpful information regarding the local area, but it can also be a way of telling them (as nicely as possible) what is expected of them as tenants and how to look after and maintain the property. It’s also a great way of demonstrating your credentials as a landlord and what they can expect from you.
You should also evaluate the state of the property before the students move in (and it’s always best to do this just prior to handover). This will involve drawing up an inventory of all furniture/appliances and fittings that come with the property, along with taking photographs of all rooms. That way you can keep track of any loss or damage incurred during the student’s residence.
Make sure the inventory and photographs are signed off by the students’ upon arrival as well, so that you have clear recourse should your photographs end up on the better side of a before/after comparison. There are plenty of good inventory companies out there if you do a little research in your local area, and most estate agents will provide this additional service for you.
Once all this is done and the keys are handed over, well done! You’ve become a landlord for student tenants.
StuRents.com has been listing student accommodation in the UK for free since 2008 and lists over 160,000 bed spaces across all major university towns and cities.
In the first of two articles looking at the process of becoming a student landlord, property portal StuRents.com talks you through purchasing your property and getting it ready for market.