Letting to Students

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  • Letting to Students

    Hi - not been around for a while but hello to you all.

    I'm thinking of getting a property to let to students. The situation is my daughter has gone to university so buy a property and let it to her and friends for a couple of years, then to non related students thereafter - possibly through the university scheme.

    I woudl appreciate advice on the following points.

    1. Would it be preferable to have one contract to which all residents are co signatories, or seperate contracts - one for each resident.

    2. Given the term time and possible change every year would it make sense to make the rent inclusive of utility bills, with a "fair use" clause in the contract - that woudl avoid frequent changes with the utility company, issues of students being accepted, and issues around the summer when there will be no students staying.

    3 Any general comments/experiences from letting to students

    Thank you

    Yossarian

  • #2
    One of your first ports of call should be the university you are considering. Some have excellent housing offices, others are rubbish. They will be able to let you know what they require from their landlords and if they are any good at all will be able to make helpful suggestions.

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    • #3
      This is exactly what we did. It can work out very well but it's not as easy as it first seems.

      You need to decide if you are going to go for a House of Multiple Occupation - this is usually required if the house is to have more than two people who are not related living in it. Your council will be able to give you all the necessary requirements re fire regs, size of rooms needed to qualify etc. You also need a gas certificate every year and an electrical cert which usually lasts 5 years, plus a cert from the trading standards dept covering all furnishing. You'll also need to furnish the house down to pots and pans, crockery and cutlery.

      You should know all this before you buy the house as putting all this in place in a house that doesn't have it already have it done can be very expensive and take quite a while. Plus you need to have it all done before the start of the winter term and getting your HMO licence can take some time as they will need to visit to assess and then revisit to check all work has been carried out. You may be able to buy a ready set up HMO.

      You'll also need agreements covering student lets which are usually for 40 weeks (academic year) and whether you want to take rent every term or monthly. Some students like to stay on over the summer so sometimes you can let all year round. We use individual agreements on our 5 bed houses and a joint agreement on our two bed house.

      You'll also need an inventory. You can charge a weekly rate that covers all bills or let the students pay them themselves. Either works. If you do the former make sure they don't run up huge heating bills as you'll be responsible for the payment, if they pay themselves the students have to decide whether they will all have their names on the bills or they'll nominate one person. You can put a clause in your agreement stating that the studends will not change suppliers.

      Don't foregt, when your daughter moves on, you'll be dealing with new groups of students, so you'll have to advertise your house either through a letting agency or via the University's own accommodation website. If you do it yourself letting does involve a lot of running around showing prospective students the house, collecting rents, doing running repairs, sorting out problems etc. It's very hands on. If you use an agent to do it all for you, they will charge. How close to the Uni do you live?

      Oh,and if you are using a buy-to-let mortagage you need to inform them that you'll be using the house for student lets and don't forget about insurance too.

      There's a lot to think about, but we did it OK, so good luck!

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      • #4
        Another thing to bear in mind is that students like to get their next year's accommodation sorted out early, (my daughter and friends had theirs sorted before Christmas!) and will be leaving in June, so you could buy somewhere in the next few months and then find you can't get tenants until September 2009! Although if it's for your daughter and friends, this probably wouldn't be a problem.

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