Renting to Students in the UK |A Comprehensive Guide

In this comprehensive guide, our St Andrews student letting experts explore the benefits and potential pitfalls of investing in student housing and renting to students, essential property considerations, legal requirements, tips for being a successful student landlord, managing rent and deposits, marketing strategies, and answer frequently asked questions regarding managing a student let.

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Should I be investing in student lets?

Student let management 5 students wearing red st andrews gowns looking for a property to let (1)

Renting to students in the UK can be a lucrative and rewarding investment. This rental market offers landlords a stable source of income and the potential for long-term tenancies. However, it also comes with unique challenges and considerations that potential landlords should be aware of.

We are often asked whether renting to students is a good idea, here are our top 4 reasons we would recommend doing it.

Reasons investing in student housing is a good idea

Investing in student lets can be an attractive option for several reasons:

1. High Demand: University cities and towns, such as St Andrews, often experience a consistent demand for student accommodation, ensuring a steady stream of potential tenants.

2. Long-Term Tenancies: Student tenancies typically last for the duration of an academic year, providing landlords with stable income without frequent turnovers.

3. Higher Rental Yields: Student properties are often rented on a per-room basis, which can lead to higher rental yields compared to traditional single-let properties.

4. Potential for Growth: In popular university locations, there may be a shortage of purpose-built student accommodations, creating opportunities for investors to meet the demand.

Potential pitfalls of renting to students

While there are many advantages to student lets, it’s essential to be aware of potential challenges:

Vacancy periods

During the summer months, when students are away from university, there may be vacancies, leading to temporary drops in rental income. St Andrews Property Co recognises this and offers a hybrid management model with holiday letting management, allowing your student let to become a holiday home, to ensure your property is never vacant.

Property wear and tear

Student properties may experience more wear and tear compared to traditional rentals, requiring regular maintenance and repairs. Consider durable furnishings.

Administrative tasks

Renting to students can involve additional administrative tasks, such as dealing with joint tenancies, guarantors, and coordinating move-ins and move-outs, and conducting inventories.

At St Andrews Property Co we manage every aspect of your student let, get a free consultation today.

10 student let property considerations

When letting out a property to students, there are lots of moving parts to consider. Use our comprehensive list to help you when you’re starting out.

Scroll down for student letting advice on each of following considerations.

  1. Location
  2. Size and layout
  3. Furnishings and facilities
  4. Safety and security
  5. Budget considerations
  6. Noise considerations
  7. House rules
  8. Utility arrangements
  9. Insurance
  10. Maintenance and repairs
  11. Bonus consideration

Choosing the best location

Choose a student property located in close proximity to universities or colleges to attract students seeking convenient accommodation.

Consider the accessibility of public transportation, as many students rely on buses or trains to commute to their campus.

Size and layout

Opt for properties with suitable layouts for multiple student tenants. Houses with multiple bedrooms, common areas, and shared facilities are popular among students. Properties with en-suite bathrooms or additional bathrooms can also be more appealing to tenants.

Facilities and furnishings to provide

Offering desirable amenities can set your student property apart from others in the market. Consider properties with modern kitchens, laundry facilities, communal spaces, and study areas. Outdoor spaces like gardens or balconies can also enhance the living experience.

Furnish your student property with practical and durable items that can withstand heavy use. Opt for easy-to-clean materials and consider providing study desks, bookshelves, and comfortable seating in common areas. All soft furnishings such as sofas must now meet Fire Safety regulations and must be accompanied by the relevant labelling on the furnishings.

Don’t forget storage space! Students often come with belongings from home, so ensure your student let property has sufficient storage space, such as wardrobes, closets, or additional storage units.

Consider implementing eco-friendly practices in your student property, such as using energy-efficient appliances and encouraging recycling. Environmentally-conscious students may be attracted to properties with green initiatives.

Safety and security

For many students this may be their first time away from their parents, so keeping them safe should be a priority. Give everyone peace of mind by taking safety and security precautions seriously. You might consider installing secure locks on doors and windows, ensure well-lit entryways, and consider adding security measures like CCTV cameras or an intercom system.

Consider the student budget

Be mindful of the budget constraints of student tenants. While providing quality accommodation is important, students often have limited financial resources. Strive to offer competitive rental rates without compromising on property quality and safety.

Noise considerations

Student properties are often located in bustling areas, close to campuses and social hotspots. Be aware that noise levels may be higher, especially during weekends or student events. Insulating the property or installing double-glazed windows can help mitigate noise disturbances.

Create house rules

Clearly define house rules and expectations for your student tenants. Address issues related to noise, parties, cleanliness, and property maintenance to foster a harmonious living environment.

Utility arrangements

Decide whether utilities like electricity, water, and internet will be included in the rent or billed separately to the tenants. Clear communication about utility arrangements will prevent confusion and disputes.

Reliable and high-speed internet connectivity is crucial for students who rely heavily on online research, assignments, and communication. Ensure the property is equipped with a fast and stable internet connection.

Insurance coverage

As a student landlord, consider insurance to protect your property against potential damages and liabilities. Students are generally responsible tenants, but accidents can happen, and insurance offers added peace of mind.

Maintenance and repairs

Have a reliable maintenance system in place to address repair requests promptly. Regular, we recommend quarterly, property inspections can help identify and address maintenance issues before they escalate.

You might consider investing in regular pest control services too. Student tenants may not always be aware of the necessary measures to prevent pest infestations.

Bonus consideration: Property management

Decide whether you will manage the property yourself or hire a property management company to handle day-to-day operations. Property management companies can take care of tenant communications, repairs, and other administrative tasks, saving you time and effort. Here’s how to find the best student let management agency.

Legal Requirements for student accommodation

As a landlord of student accommodation, you must comply with certain legal requirements:

  1. Landlord Registration: you are required in most cases to register as a Landlord with your local authority.
  2. Safety Standards: Ensure that the property meets all safety regulations, including fire safety, gas safety, electrical safety, and smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
  3. Tenancy Agreements: Use a legally compliant tenancy agreement, specifying the responsibilities of both landlord and tenants.
  4. HMO Licensing: If your property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO), you will require a license from the local authority.

What makes a good student landlord?

Being a successful student landlord involves certain qualities and practices:

1. Responsiveness: Respond promptly to tenant inquiries, maintenance requests, and concerns.

2. Understanding: Understand the unique needs and challenges of student tenants, especially regarding exam periods and academic schedules.

3. Clear Communication: Establish clear communication channels and provide important information regarding the tenancy and property rules.

How to manage student rent and deposits

Efficiently managing rent and deposits is crucial for a smooth tenancy:

1. Rental Payments: Consider using a standing order or direct debit system to ensure timely rental payments.

2. Deposit Protection: Place the tenant’s deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme to comply with legal requirements. We use Safe deposit Scotland for our tenants.

How and when to market a student let

Effective marketing can attract the right tenants to your student property.

When to start

Start marketing early, before the new academic year begins, to capture students’ attention during the house-hunting season.

How to market your student let

Digital marketing is probably the most efficient way to get your property in front of students. Here are 5 simple ideas to get you started:

  • Consider online listings on Rightmove, Zoopla, and SpareRoom
  • Create social media accounts showcasing reviews and tenant testimonials
  • Advertise on local university platforms and with student unions
  • Mention your property on local student forums and groups, share photos of the property
  • Offer group discount incentives, if a group comes to you you can guarantee every room is rented

Renting to Students UK FAQs

In most cases, student tenancies are conducted as Private Residential Tenancies (PRT) in Scotland.

The main feature of PRTs is the open-ended nature of the tenancy. Short-term lets may be possible during summer periods, but be aware of local regulations regarding short-term rentals, and that you can’t guarantee that the property will be available until your tenant has given you their notice.

It is common practice to require a guarantor for student tenants, as they may have limited rental history or income. A guarantor provides financial security for the landlord in case the tenant defaults on rent payments.

Yes, you can let your property to international students. However, it’s essential to verify their student status, ensure they have an appropriate guarantor, and comply with all legal requirements.

Establish a clear procedure for reporting maintenance issues, and respond promptly to repair requests to ensure the property remains safe and comfortable for tenants.

If your property has gas installations you must have an in date gas safety certificate. All loose electrical items must be PAT tested and there must be linked and in date smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Final thoughts on renting to students

Understanding the unique considerations, legal requirements, and best practices for student accommodation is essential for success.

By providing well-maintained, appropriately furnished properties and being a responsive and understanding landlord, you can attract and retain student tenants who will value your accommodation and ensure a positive rental experience for both parties.

Our local team are ready to help

Get in touch today

Get in touch with us today to arrange a free consultation at our St Andrews office or at your property. You can call us, complete the enquiry form below and we’ll be delighted to help.