If you are a landlord who owns a property in a college town, renting to students can be an excellent way of quickly filling vacancies. However, renting to college students comes with its pros and cons. Read on to learn the top tips for renting to college students in order to guard against the risk.
Tip #1: Understand The Risks
While renting to college students can help fill vacancies quickly during peak seasons, it does come with a unique set of risks. You might run into the following issues when renting to college students:
- A seasonal gap when college students leave for the summer
- A lack of credit history
- Less experience paying bills on time
- Potential for partying and noise complaints
Although renting to college students may initially bring to mind raging keg parties, the reality is that renting to college students can actually be extremely successful. When you handle the process properly and mitigate risks carefully, you have a better chance of reaping the benefits of college town rentals.
Tip #2: Market Well
Finding the ideal tenant will be much easier if you have a larger pool of applicants to choose from. When marketing your rental property, make sure you list it out across multiple channels. If college students are part of your target audience, then having a robust online presence will be critically important. Use a free online tool that helps you syndicate one listing out across dozens of websites. Be sure to include high-quality photos and a compelling listing. If your rental is near campus, for example, highlight that feature. Including utilities is another huge draw for college students who might not be as savvy with paying bills and budgeting. Include all the relevant information about your expectations as well, such as the amount you need up front, the security deposit, your pet-policy, and any other important stipulations. This will help weed out unqualified applicants and will prevent you from answering the same questions over and over again.
Tip #3: Screen Applicants
When you have interest in your rental unit, be sure to stick to the same screening process as you always would. Ask for references, such as previous landlords and employers. You can also request proof of how they will pay rent, e.g. a pay stub or bank statement. Keep in mind, regardless of who is applying or who you are screening, you must stick to the same criteria and follow the guidelines of the Fair Housing Act.
Tip #4: Use A Co-Signer
When you go through the screening process, one of the biggest issues you will run into is an insufficient or non-existent credit history. It can be difficult to know whether or not someone will be reliable when they have no history by which to judge their responsibility. You also will often run into a lack of income, as a full-time student is likely not making enough money to cover your normal income requirements. This is where using a co-signer can be extremely beneficial. Often a family member will agree to be a co-signer on the lease to help a college student secure housing. When you add a co-signer to your lease, be sure you screen the co-signer the same way you would a normal applicant. They will be financially responsible should the student not pay rent, therefore, you need to know that they are qualified to take on that responsibility.
Tip #5: Communicate The Terms Of The Lease Clearly
If you accept a college student as your new tenant, start off the relationship with clear communication. Be sure you go over the lease thoroughly and emphasize important information. For example, you could include in your lease a section that states keg parties are not allowed at the rental property. You could also include a limit on the number of consecutive days an overnight guest is allowed. Make sure you not only communicate the terms of the lease but also the consequences for violating the lease. If late rent payments incur a fee, for example, be sure you let them know. The stronger the lease you create and the better you communicate the terms of the lease, the less chance you have for miscommunication. Be sure, though, that your lease adheres to all local laws and regulations.
Tip #6: Manage It All Online
College renters will be tech savvy and prefer to do everything online. Accept online rental applications, screen tenants online, and implement online rental payments to save yourself time and to attract this younger generation. If you handle the process properly from start to finish, you can reap the rewards of renting to college students. TurboTenant is revolutionizing the rental process by providing savvy landlords with cutting-edge technology that’s intuitive, powerful, fast and free. Through one-click online rental marketing, fully integrated tenant screening, customizable property websites and online rent payments, TurboTenant is changing the way landlords manage property. Sign up for TurboTenant today and see how our free landlord software will simplify your life.