Sunderland University hosted another Landlords Event earlier this week (the 2nd this year), to discuss the Sunderland student lettings market both now and in the future. The key points raised are as follows...
Sunderland University hosted their 2nd Landlords Event earlier this week to discuss the Sunderland student lettings market both now and in the future
I attended, along with around 30 other landlords/agents
The key points to pick out are as follows
- The University Accommodation Office were keen to stress that with the semester system new students arrive throughout the year, not just at the end of the Summer (the inference being "Don’t Panic!" if your property is not let by September)
- I will seek to get firm confirmation of the numbers as clearly the arrivals are still heavily weighted towards Sept/Oct
- There are 13 planning applications being considered for new student developments (‘pods’) in the City Centre, which would equate to 300 bedrooms (or the equivalent of 75 five bed shared houses…)
- “Bills Included” is again being cited as the strong preference for students (Fair Usage policies accepted)
- Price seems to be less of a consideration than the removal of the ‘hassle factor’/not having to take responsibility
- Increased expectations regarding the standard of accommodation / facilities / services (WiFi / TV etc) was again mentioned as being critical to letting your student property
- Increased expecations by students in terms of landlords/agents response times when problems are highlighted was also mentionend, with the findings of an UCAS survey revealed in which 61% of responders would expect a same-day response and 42% would expect a response within the hour!
- The Students Union has representatives who can provide energy efficiency advice to students (although some of the advice appeared to contradict what we would consider best practice, specifically relating to ventilation vs. heat insulation…)
- The Council has grants available of up to £5,000 for improvements to properties in Hendon & Millfield which have been vacant for 6 months (the budget needs to be spent by March 2014 so contact the Council ASAP)
- The University & Council was again promoting the Accredited Landlord Scheme as a means to increase the ‘lettability’ of student properties & raise standards
- Due to staff cutbacks, Accredited Landlords would now be allowed to self-regulate in non-licensed HMO’s (no Council inspections)
The next meeting is planned for May 2014