How to Master the Student Housing Market

The student housing market is a lucrative opportunity for growth. If your properties are located near a college or university, student housing could be for you.

Even if you don’t explicitly market your properties as student housing, you might still receive student applicants due to your proximity. Why not take advantage of this circumstance and advertise why your properties are excellent for students?

Renting to students does come with its challenges and considerations. While not all students will fall into the demographics you typically think of, many students are young and inexperienced with renting. To trust these individuals with your properties means introducing risk as well.

A digital property management tool can assist your transition to student housing and help you tackle these challenges. With property management software, you can update the language in your listings, link advertisements, require co-signers, and manipulate lease structures.

Here is an overview of the benefits and additional tips for mastering the student housing market.

Benefits of Renting to Students

Before diving into tips, let’s first consider the benefits of renting to students. Although the risks might come to mind first when you think about student tenants, there are many reasons why renting to students is beneficial for your business.

First, student housing near universities is always in high demand. With each new incoming class comes thousands of students who need housing for several semesters. Students will never be in short supply, and they will always need housing nearby their classes.

What’s more, your location near a university will largely do your marketing for you. If your company website and listings are up-to-date, students will find you.

Student housing is also highly competitive. Many students secure housing far before their leases begin, starting in the fall for the following summer’s move-in. Entering this market can help you stay on top of your competitors.

What type of housing do students want?  

While students are an easy demographic to target, they also only need temporary places to live. Undergraduates will look for one to two-year leases, while graduate students might need housing for longer. 

You may worry that this would lead to high tenant turnover. However, remember that students will often settle for the most affordable properties, even if they lack the fanciest amenities. You don’t need to install the latest renovations to keep your units filled year after year.

Tips for Student Housing

If you’re looking to enter the student housing market, consider these tips and best practices.

1. Require a Co-signer or Guarantor

One of the reasons student housing is lucrative is because landlords will often require a co-signer or guarantor. Students are not necessarily the most responsible or financially savvy individuals (although many are). Younger tenants are certainly less experienced and probably won’t have a rental history at all.

In these cases, it’s best to require a guarantor. This person (usually a parent) will be listed on the lease as responsible for ensuring that the tenant’s rent gets paid. You can add this person’s information on your property management software.

Avoid establishing a blanket policy requiring a guarantor for all students enrolled at a university. Many nontraditional students also need housing—including older adults, parents, and graduate students. These individuals are likely to have a rental history and probably don’t need a guarantor.

2. Perform regular inspections

Students are not known to be the cleanest of tenants. They may host parties, leave maintenance problems to worsen over time, or simply neglect cleaning in the busy day-to-day challenges of college.

Regular inspections can help you notice maintenance concerns before they become more serious. 

If you establish rules about trash and cleanliness in your agreement, you can enforce these rules and penalize violations via regular inspections.

3. Lease rooms individually

Students are dynamic tenants. They are likely to move around, make and break relationships, and change their plans as they consider their futures.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to lease rooms individually or by the bedroom. This way, each tenant is only responsible for their portion of the rent and lease agreement. If one roommate wants out of a lease early or someone else wants to move in, your lease structure already accommodates these changes.

4. Prepare to be flexible

Finally, prepare to be flexible in all aspects when renting to students. This might mean varying your lease start and end dates to match a semester schedule, allowing sub-leasing for tenants who study abroad, or any number of other accommodations.

Master Student HousingStudent housing is a great opportunity to expand your rental reach. By using a property management software tool, you already have the resources you need to build the infrastructure for student housing. Paired with a little diligence and flexibility, you can master the student housing market in no time.

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