27th May 2017
Each week, we answer a reader’s rental property question, from first-time landlords to experienced owners. Agony Agent, is here to help!
Q: Is letting my property to students worth the hassle?
A: Letting out a property to students is a lucrative business IF you own the right property.
Letting out a larger property to students has long been seen as a profitable way to turn a larger house into a good income. But during the summer months when many of these student properties are empty, you could face costly damage. Student tenants may go back home for a few weeks, leaving the property empty and therefore posing a security risk. Criminals will be well aware of which properties are vacant and crime statistics for domestic break-ins are far higher from July to September.
Often students leave expensive equipment and possessions in the property for long periods and if a break in occurs not only do laptops, stereos and other equipment go missing, but anything of value belonging to the landlord is at risk too.
A student might also sublet his or her room for the time they are away. This is a common problem, for example, recently there was a five bedroom student let, where a friend of a tenant was given a key to stay in the property while the tenants were away. Unfortunately, the guest also brought his dog along for the holidays resulting in the tenants coming home to find stained carpets, scratched door frames and fur on the furniture and carpets. Landlords should make sure that they inspect the property regularly. If a property is vacant for long periods it will usually be necessary for a weekly inspection to comply with the terms of your landlord’s insurance policy.
TIPS to help landlords protect their properties during the summer void periods:
- Ensure the property has a burglar alarm system and that all windows and doors have safety locks.
- Ensure that the property has working fire alarms, extinguishers and fire blankets. There must also be clearly marked emergency exits.
- Switch off all electrical appliances, unplug them from the wall and also check that wall sockets are safe and secure.
- Switch off the water from the mains and look out for damp patches or possible leaks.
- Furnishing and Fittings: A nice leather sofa might be the selling point, but it might not be there come summer time. Be aware that landlords must provide each tenant with a suitable desk and chair. If possible, check bed mattresses for broken springs which become dangerous over time.
- Infestations: Another big problem in student houses are common pests including mice, slugs, fruit flies, pigeons and sometimes even rats. Some students are messy and leave food lying about for days. Check your property for droppings and slug trails.
Although there are many issues you need to take into consideration, the student market is definitely a profitable one. We are more than happy to assist with the set-up, marketing and management of any student property, so please contact me today if you need my help.