September is just around the corner and with that comes an influx of post-secondary students looking for rental properties. While renting to students is not without its challenges, owning a rental property close to a university or college, or close to public transit means you will always have a steady demand for your space that makes for a profitable investment. The following are a few tips to help make the process of finding the ideal student renter as painless as possible.

  • Nerds Only. Looking for a studious, academically focused tenant? Explicitly state this in your rental ad. While this shouldn’t be your only tactic to try and protect your property from boisterous partiers, it does set the tone for your expectations right from the start. Students looking for the ideal location to host monthly mixers complete with hot tub rental and a hired DJ may just skip your ad and look for something else.
  • Write your rental ad from a student’s perspective. In addition to outlining what you are looking for in a tenant, make sure your rental ad is well crafted and describes the advantages your property provides for students. An ad that really appeals to students will give you a much larger rental pool to choose from and, as a result, a much higher chance that you will find the best tenant match. Be sure to mention amenities such as nearby restaurants or public transit, walkable grocery stores, coffee shops, and entertainment options such as pubs or theatres. 
  • Make moving in easy. Many new students will have never lived away from home before and will be clueless when it comes to things like setting up utilities or cable. Setting these things up on behalf of your student tenant will make the transition easier with less to worry about at the start of the school year. Many student renters will also appreciate moving into a furnished unit as this means reduced moving costs and, again, one less thing to worry about — for cash-strapped students and parents alike. If you have a good idea what the average annual utility costs are, it may be worthwhile to include all utilities in the monthly rent. Being able to advertise an all-in amount will help prospective renters more accurately gauge whether or not they can afford to live there and help them budget their expenses for the entire school year.
  • Safety first. Students and their parents will appreciate any efforts you’ve made to ensure the property is safe and secure. Installing outdoor motion-sensor lighting, secure door locks, and updated, lockable basement windows will all be added features that will give renters peace of mind.
  • Student Code of Conduct. There’s no guarantee that your student tenant will follow the rules all of the time, but setting ground rules and expectations is absolutely necessary. As part of the rental agreement, explicitly state your expectations for the condition of the property at the end of the lease agreement including cleaning criteria. Also remind your tenant that it is his/her responsibility to notify you in a timely manner if anything is in need of repair. Reminders about city noise bylaws and the garbage collection schedule are also a good idea.
  • Character check. Once you’ve narrowed down your tenant choices, don’t forget to do some back checking before making your selection. A credit check won’t be particularly helpful, as most students won’t have much of a credit history. But asking for employer references will provide a useful character reference and will give you some insight into the student’s reliability. 

You may not be the one going back to school, but doing your homework before finding a student tenant will be worth your while. If you find a great fit, you may end up with a reliable, long-term tenant you can depend on for four years or more. 

Posted by Wally Fakhreddine on


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