August 16th… a day full of celebrations and excitement for those students who will soon be furthering their academic journeys.
However, not only is this a significant day for students, but for landlords this should be an important reminder about student accommodation. Have you ensured that students will be attracted to your property? Do you really know what they’re looking for?
Key decoration and furnishings that students expect in their rental property:
When considering a colour scheme, going down the neutral route seems the most appropriate way to go as it will appeal to more people, and will easily match with any type of furniture and furnishings.
When deciding on paint, use a satin finish so that it will be easy to clean walls in between tenancies and reduce the remedial work to get the property ready for the next tenant. Use high durability paints that contain acrylic or latex to reduce the requirement for redecoration. If you need a quick change between tenants, be sure to use water based acrylic paint – it is less time consuming.
Go for a mid-tone carpet that doesn’t expose dirt or stains. Cheap carpets may be appealing but are far likelier to become distressed or damaged, especially with regular professional cleaning. So, choose the best quality flooring you can afford. Light carpets are difficult to maintain and show dirt and stains too easily.
Carpets are generally preferred in sleeping areas, but good quality laminate or wooden floors are also popular and offer a far more modern feel.
Providing a furnished property is perfect for students who need a clean, pleasant and safe space to study.
Ensure that each room has the basics covered:
Lounge – sofa and side table
Dining area/room – table and chairs
Bedroom – bed and bedside tables
As you are aiming at a student, you may want to invest in a desk and chair to meet their study needs.
Supplying white goods in your rental may also be an added incentive to achieve a quick rental. The minimum would be a cooker, washing machine and fridge/freezer.
As a landlord, you need to ensure that these key things are in place prior to the viewing process:
• Go through the property and ensure it is clean and presentable
• If you were the prior resident arrange to have your mail redirected
• Transfer utility bills into the name of the new tenant
• Arrange for the council tax to be paid by the new tenant
• Leave instructions for all appliances with each appliance.
• Make sure all relevant equipment is labelled correctly
• Copy the house keys so that each tenant has a set
Ensure that you can provide your tenants with the following:
• An Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement
• A Schedule 2 Ground 2 Mortgage Notice
• Energy Performance Certificate
• Gas Safety Certificate
• How to rent guide
• Standing Order
• Smoke alarm checklist
• Inventory of the property
On the day your tenants move in:
• Take final meter readings and give them to the tenants
• Conduct, agree and sign the inventory with the tenants
• Demonstrate the workings of relevant equipment – alarms, locks
• Explain how to use any safety equipment – extinguishers, blankets
• Provide emergency contact numbers and written explanations of how to deal with an emergency in the property
• Allow the tenants to ask you any questions they have
• Hand over the keys
As well as this list of key things you should ensure you have in your student property, we have answers from some local students. This is what the recent graduates of Nottingham Trent University have commented, regarding what they think students look for when they start University.
As a graduate, what do you think landlords could do to attract students to their properties?
“Honestly, I think offering rent with bills included at a reasonable price saves a lot of hassle. These new students will 9 times out of 10, not really know how to handle their money and might get confused and stressed about balancing separate bill payments on top of all the studying they are required to do.
“In addition, ensuring that the property has a double bed is a big plus. Students want to feel comfortable in their accommodation. For some, this is a totally different ballgame. They are in a city they have no clue about and will already feel anxious about this entire experience. So, maybe landlords could ensure that there is a decent bed and affordable bills that work for both parties. This would most definitely attract students in my opinion.”
In terms of what I think students want in addition to this, is added extras such as fast, quality broadband, decent white goods and facilities like a fully functioning washing machine, maybe a tumble dryer too.”
What kinds of things did you look for specifically when you were searching for a property?
“Personally, I narrowed down my search by making sure that there were three basic things in each property. I knew that I wanted a property with decent insulation, gas heating and double-glazed windows.
I wasn’t too bothered personally about the decoration inside the property, but I wanted to be certain that I would be warm and comfortable during my tenancy. Luckily, my landlord was lovely and ensured that we had everything we needed. This made my experience a pleasant one. I would suggest that all landlords wanting to increase their chances of more viewings should ensure that these things are prioritised.”
When you were a student, which property type did you pick, and why?
“We lived in a terraced house as a group of 4. Initially, we didn’t really mind where we were going to live because it would have only been for a year, however, to save searching for another property towards the end of our second year at University, we decided to renew our tenancy after the year was up and continue living in the property.
We all picked this property because the rent was manageable and was decent for what we had. The landlord was fair with this and we had decent furniture, despite the house being slightly old, with a few cracks and damages here and there.
Overall, I’d say we picked it because of the rent price, the amount of kitchen and general living space we had and also because it was nearby to public transport which we all needed to get to University and around the city. This definitely worked in the landlord’s favour, as we had a nice house, easy access to transport and affordable rent. “
Lastly, we want to remind landlords that it is paramount to cover your investment, this is why Just Landlords, the Landlord Insurance provider provides the highest quality and widest cover as standard, for both ordinary landlords and student landlords. Please visit our website to enquire further.