Landlord advice: How to Rent to Students

Posted by Ryan Howard


Student housing is a lucrative and flourishing industry and many property owners would love to break into the market. Many landlords are also wary of renting to college students for fear that their property will not be properly maintained. If your property is located within radius of a major university, know this: students are looking for a place to call home. With record enrollment numbers and competitive accommodations, renting to students is a prolific way of keeping your property filled.

You can take advantage of your location, welcome students into your property and have some peace of mind with a little bit of landlord advice. 

quick tips: how to rent to students

Appealing to Students

For starters, your property and the way you market your property should appeal to students. Consider your target audience. Many of today's college students will search online for student housing. If you're going to place an ad online, make sure the best features of your property are bulleted or in bold lettering. Include information about the neighborhood and the distance from the campus. Specify what, if any, utilities are included in the rental payments, if there are laundry facilities nearby and what internet options are available in your area. 

When discussing more about the property features with the prospective tenant(s), highlight other features such as common areas and privacy - especially if there will be roommates. Check other rent prices in the area and adjust accordingly so that rent is affordable. If you will be including any sort of furniture in the rental property, point it out to the prospective tenants. Showing the functionality of your property from a student's point of view will go far in appealing to university students.


Screening Students

Screening students is required due diligence for landlords considering using their properties for student housing. Will your tenant be making payments on their own or relying on their parents? Will their rent payments be dependent on a scholarship, financial aid or grant money? Has your future tenant been in trouble on campus for any reason? 

Here are just a few background checks to consider:

  • Tenant eviction records
  • Criminal background and sex offender search
  • Rental history

If the student will have a parent or other adult as a co-signer, you might consider running a credit check on the co-signer as well.

Request more information on Tenant Screening


Leasing to students

When creating a lease for a student, a landlord should consider certain clauses that would help to protect the property and not be disruptive to the neighborhood. Are their noise levels or occupancy rules dictated by the community or city? Are their certain parking situations that are not allowed or would cause concern from neighbors? Does the neighborhood prohibit an overgrown lawn? Addressing these things may not prevent them but they will be part of a signed agreement if the landlord/tenant relationship turns sour and ends up in court. 

If there will be multiple students renting the property, each student should sign their own individual lease and be responsible for their own rent. Some landlords create lease agreements that holds every tenant responsible for the full rent. If someone drops out or moves out during the lease agreement, then the rest of the tenants are responsible for finding another roommate or a way to pay the full amount. 

Go over the lease agreement with each tenant and everything that it covers so that the student understands their responsibility to the contract. Consider the length of time of the lease agreement to coincide with the length of semesters or other terms at the local university.


Collecting Rent from Students

Another nightmare concern from landlords considering student housing properties is collecting rent from students. As mentioned above, screening the prospective tenants goes a long way to ensure a positive experience. Another option to consider is allowing the student to pay their monthly rent online, perhaps even automatically withdrawn, so that the student doesn't forget to pay on time. Including a rent collection property in the lease will also inform the students how rent is to be collected, how much is to be paid and when.  

Should the students fall too far behind on rental payments, there are suggestions for collecting back rent including working with a collections agency that specializes in property management collections. 

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Student housing as an option for property managers doesn't have to be a negative experience. In fact, with the probability of placing more than one tenant in your properties, you may find your rental income is more consistent than ever before. With some foresight, planning and great communications, both landlord and tenant can come away from their agreement feeling assured that they are getting a great deal. 

Topics: Property Management, Student Housing