by Jess Walter, Freelance Writer
In 2017, approximately 20.4 million students will attend American colleges. If there is a college in your town and your apartments are closed to students, you are missing out on a significant proportion of the rental population. However, offering student housing is not right for all landlords or properties. Should you rent to college students? Here are some pros and cons:
- Lack of history: Young college students often have a lack of rental history and and credit history, so it can be difficult to know what kind of person you are renting your property to.
- Bad behavior: whilst not every college student is a party animal, rowdy behavior does occur. It’s not a hard and fast rule but check if the college in your city has a reputation of being a party school. Set clear ground rules in your tenant agreement and have a plan on what you will do in situations like
- Lack of home knowledge: Your tenants may never have lived away from home before and so may lack knowledge on how to take care of a property. Be prepared to be called out to fix a ‘problem’ that could have easily been dealt with themselves.
- Financial risks can be mitigated: Renting to students isn’t as much of a financial risk as you might think. In many cases, parents will co-sign or even pay the entirety of the rent themselves. Even for students without parental support, schemes such as rent guarantee insurance protects landlords from not getting their income on time, and are usually accessible to students.
- The inexperience of young students can have an upside in that they may well be cautious and likely to take care of their living space well. They are less likely to hammer nails into walls and want to make modifications than older tenants.
- Students usually have lower standards than professionals. Chances are whatever you are providing will be nicer than the dorm, plus they are probably thrilled to have their first place away from their parents. This means you can expect less complaints if the apartment is less than perfect.
While renting to students offers many opportunities and benefits, it carries risks as well. Consider your strengths as a landlord and the situation of the university in your area to make the best decision for you.
Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.