Residential Letting : Student Market

Gwen Williams of Belvoir Bedford continues her series of articles aimed at helping both Landlord and Tenant gain the most from the residential lettings market.

September is the start of the academic year however there will be a surge of students looking during January/February and the Summer , they want to get ahead of the game and get the jump on any quality properties on offer. For Landlords, renting a house to students can be very rewarding, however, it is not straightforward and there are a number of pitfalls to be avoided.

University Registration Schemes

Most Universities take student accommodation very seriously and some will run a property registration scheme to ensure that good quality housing is available. Registration will vary with each accommodation office, but usually a fee will be charged enabling landlords to advertise properties on the university accommodation register. This register is available to all students throughout the academic year and is by far the most effective way for landlords to let their properties both quickly and easily.

However, in return for registration, the University will require that all properties advertised meet certain minimum standards. The housing office will need to see up to date Gas Safety and Electrical Safety Certificates and also proof of ownership of the property. They will require all properties to comply with current housing legislation and local council regulations in respect of planning permission and environmental health and fire regulations. It is essential that all properties must be free of damp, have adequate ventilation, lighting and heating and contain smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. On top of this the accommodation office will reserve the right to inspect the property at any time throughout the year to check that it is up to standard.

Considerations when Offering Accommodation

Before a landlord can show students around the property he must consider the following:

  • Rent – How much will it be? What does it include? When will it be paid?
  • Deposit – If a deposit is to be paid how much should it be? What is it for and what is the procedure for returning it?
  • Tenancy Agreement – Does it cover all requirements? What sort of contract will it be?
  • Notice to Quit – How much notice will the students give if they wish to leave the property?
  • Bills – Does the rent include payment of bills? If not how will these be paid?
  • Repairs – How much notice will the students be given if repairs need to be carried out?
  • Inspections – How often will they take place?

The accommodation office or a quality lettings agency such as Belvoir will certainly help all potential landlords answer these questions.

Some universities set maximum weekly rents for their registered properties and may also be able to provide an approved contract or tenancy agreement. A lettings agency will also be able to provide a well thought out and up to date tenancy agreement.

As you can see there is a lot to consider in respect of this market. Want to know more give Gwen a call 01234 290685