Student Let? Any advice for prospective Landlord?

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    Student Let? Any advice for prospective Landlord?

    I am considering purchasing a property with the intention of letting it to students. I have done some research on the potential income, area etc and it all seems very promising, however I have heard some horror stories in the past. Please can anyone share their experiences on this.

    I am particularly keen to find out if landlords can still get rent for the entire term, and what if they leave halfway through? Any information on Guarantors? Any advice to minimise risk of a bad experience would be greatly appreciated!

    #2
    In this context at least, students are no different from real people. However, ensure that:
    a. you let to no more than four of them on each Letting Agreement; and
    b. each of them is aged at least 18.
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

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      #3
      Originally posted by worriedlandlord View Post
      I am considering purchasing a property with the intention of letting it to students. I have done some research on the potential income, area etc and it all seems very promising, however I have heard some horror stories in the past. Please can anyone share their experiences on this.

      I am particularly keen to find out if landlords can still get rent for the entire term, and what if they leave halfway through? Any information on Guarantors? Any advice to minimise risk of a bad experience would be greatly appreciated!
      I would echo what Jeffrey says about students being real people but they are younger and less experienced (in living independently) than most tenants and can therefore be 'higher maintenance'. It is crucial to select your tenants carefully by conducting viewings yourself if you can. Try to avoid people who cannot even hold a conversation with you but just grunt. They will be the hardest to talk to when/if things get tricky e.g. late rent/damage done, etc. If letting to a group, make sure that at least one of them can change a light bulb (no intention to patronise here, but you would be amazed how many have had eveything done by Mummy or Daddy and are utterly unpractical). Make it crystal clear from the outset what you will allow and what is non-negotiable (e.g. smoking, pets etc).

      There is little point in credit checks on 18-20 year olds since most of them are too young to have run up huge credit/debts. However you should insist on a UK based guarantor for each student (normally a parent), carry out the usual referencing processes on them and have them sign a Deed of Guarantee.

      Use a 12 month joint AST and make it clear to your tenants that they cannot just 'opt out' half way through. Tell them that they are jointly liable for the whole rent for the whole 12 months, full stop. If they fail their exams, fall out with each other, get bored with their course etc., etc., it is not your problem, but theirs. In some University towns some LLs only charge half rent or a retainer for the summer holidays (but students are not allowed to stay there), whereas in others the tenants pay, and have exclusive occupancy, all year round. Where is it?

      You may find #9 onwards of this thread useful:http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ighlight=brave

      ...and if you want horror stories, read some of the things students have done, on this one:http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ad.php?t=12319
      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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        #4
        I might get shot down for saying this since I am a tenant but the advice given though good is more for big cities IMO, since I have never once been asked for a guaranteur and think it is sometimes a bad idea in smaller places due to various reasons like in smaller towns there is more chance of people being in lower paid jobs so likely to have some credit problems, or pretty much blocks out people from low income families(credit rating isnt everything)

        Landlord says a joint contract is best but again I dont know, its easier to blame everyone if something goes wrong but also from my experience(when I first left home) that I was blamed for damage to the house worth hundreds and since the guys were all muscular guys who went to the gym each day and I was a scrawny 17 year old I had to pay £400 thereby not being able to pay rent and LL taking me to court!

        A individual TA means its better if one or more tenants is late paying or doesnt pay at all since it stops massive arguments or worse with the other tenants.

        Also if possible try and set any utility bills in everyones name as I have lived in properties where I have been the first to move in thereby bills in my name and have had to chase people up for money for bills and I am a student with low income and they often could afford to go to the gym or go clubbing etc.

        But I am just a tenant so not as knowledgeable as a LL but I am generally a respectful tenant(despite what some of my posts say)

        And I am from the North and only seen one town(though I havent been to big cities like Manchester or Liverpool) wanting summer retainers since people expected student places to be cheap.

        What I am technically getting at is there is two ways of going about this, do it the safe way i.e guaranteurs, rent to groups of friends, 12 months contract etc but thats not very flexible though is the best for the landlord.

        I disagree with talking about the ones who "grunt" though as they may just be nervous or quiet, I would be just as if not more worried about the loud ones.

        Comment


          #5
          Dekaspace offers an interesting insight to the issue from 'the other side' - I am inclined to think in my younger days I may have been the quiet one in a house full of rugby players!

          However, the thread was about protecting the landlord from getting his fingers burned, and the advice given by Jeffrey and Mind The Gap was in that vein.

          I have recently upset a students mum on this site by saying that her daughter needed to realise what the real world was all about and learn to deal with their own problems. See, student acommodation is really an extension of the main curriculum, the student must adapt to the circumstances he finds him/her self in. If you sign up for a mortgage, a holiday or a credit card you don't get it on your terms, likewise a tenancy.

          So, in answer to worriedlandlord, you don't have to be a total bar-steward, but you do have to look after yourself. By all means be friendly, but never be a friend. And the minute something seems even slightly fishy - check it out.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by dekaspace View Post
            I might get shot down for saying this since I am a tenant but the advice given though good is more for big cities IMO, since I have never once been asked for a guaranteur and think it is sometimes a bad idea in smaller places due to various reasons like in smaller towns there is more chance of people being in lower paid jobs so likely to have some credit problems, or pretty much blocks out people from low income families(credit rating isnt everything)
            Any LL must ascertain what his target market is, of course, but you will not convince me that it is ever sensible not to ask for a home-owning guarantor for any low/no income tenant, whether student or not. I do not however have experience of very cheap student housing and you may be correct in saying that not all LLs demand a G. I could not afford to take that risk.

            Originally posted by dekaspace View Post
            Landlord says a joint contract is best but again I dont know, its easier to blame everyone if something goes wrong but also from my experience(when I first left home) that I was blamed for damage to the house worth hundreds and since the guys were all muscular guys who went to the gym each day and I was a scrawny 17 year old I had to pay £400 thereby not being able to pay rent and LL taking me to court!
            I do not follow your logic here. If tenants (whether on individual ASTs or a joint one) cause damage to the property and nobody owns up, they will all be asked to pay a portion regardless of the type of contract. If you are saying you were harassed into paying £400 by the others, that is nothing to do with the type of TA, nor is it the LL's fault, is it?

            Originally posted by dekaspace View Post
            A individual TA means its better if one or more tenants is late paying or doesnt pay at all since it stops massive arguments or worse with the other tenants.
            That may be true, and individual ASTs do work better in houses with shifting populations of people who move often. However the OP was asking about student lets, where all the tenants usually stay a whole year or even two.

            Originally posted by dekaspace View Post
            Also if possible try and set any utility bills in everyones name as I have lived in properties where I have been the first to move in thereby bills in my name and have had to chase people up for money for bills and I am a student with low income and they often could afford to go to the gym or go clubbing etc.
            Yes, that is a good idea.

            Originally posted by dekaspace View Post
            And I am from the North and only seen one town(though I havent been to big cities like Manchester or Liverpool) wanting summer retainers since people expected student places to be cheap.
            It does vary from place to place, as I said.

            Originally posted by dekaspace View Post
            What I am technically getting at is there is two ways of going about this, do it the safe way i.e guaranteurs, rent to groups of friends, 12 months contract etc but thats not very flexible though is the best for the landlord.
            Which is what OP was asking, as he is hoping to become a student LL.


            Originally posted by dekaspace View Post
            I disagree with talking about the ones who "grunt" though as they may just be ervous or quiet, I would be just as if not more worried about the loud ones.
            You can generally get a sense of how socially mature people are by the way they speak to adults they have just met. Of course some people are naturally shy, but I do not think there is any excuse for poor manners, which is what I meant by 'grunting' - people who are shy don't grunt, they just smile nervously, struggle to maintain eye contact when speaking and don't say much....which isn't great, when you are an adult, but it is different from being rude.
            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

            Comment


              #7
              I charge summer retainers as a matter of course. If there is no retainer, there is no rent paid and possibly no tenancy unless you specify that it starts in July and there is two months free of rent.

              This has insurance implications for the landlord.

              We get half a months rent for July and half for august - a 12 month tenancy with 11 months due.
              Liability statement. My liability to you is not to exceed the amount you are paying for my recommendations or advice.

              I see a bright new future, where chickens can cross the road with no fear of having their motives questioned

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