What must you remember when buying a student house?

Mon 29 Dec 2014

Students laughing and having fun

Many landlords love to buy a student property and let it to young academics, as this option provides many benefits.

Students typically prefer to live in groups rather than on their own, so as a student landlord you will benefit from being able to charge rent for each room. This gives you the potential to achieve a higher income than you might if you let a whole property to one tenant.

Of course, this makes your choice of property extremely important. Get it wrong and you will struggle to attract students, but get it right and you could have academics fighting over your rental house.

When you are planning to buy a student property, the first thing to remember is to make sure adequate demand exists within your chosen area. Even if you find a delightful property at a bargain price, there is no point in purchasing it if no students want to live there.

Get in touch with local universities if you want to learn more about student numbers in certain areas, while your local Leaders branch can provide expert insight into the local property market.

What’s more, it is not only about assessing demand, as you also need to be sure the rental income you are likely to achieve is enough to cover your mortgage payment and other costs. You must also factor in the cost of any required repairs or maintenance work when doing your calculations.

Although you might not be an expert in the university world, you should remember that every institution will have built a reputation over time, so find out whether it is positive or not. It could be worth looking out for properties close to universities that attract foreign students, as this means it is well thought of, even by those overseas.

Your property will be regarded as a house in multiple occupation (HMO), so it is worth seeking expert advice on the regulations associated with this. In some cases, planning permission is required to turn a property into a student house.

Other issues to consider include the need for annual gas safety checks and electric checks every five years, while fire safety measures should be looked at every five years. Do not enter the market unless you are sure you can deal with such responsibilities.

It may be hard to do so – particularly if you are in your 50s or 60s – but try to put yourself in the shoes of the students who could be renting your house.

Is the house large enough? Are the transport links to the university and town centre good? Are parking spaces widely available? Would you want to live there?

The student housing market is a substantial one with plenty of potential to deliver a lucrative return. Indeed, its strength is illustrated by the fact it continued to prosper even when economic disaster struck the UK.

So consider all factors and make a shrewd decision and you stand to benefit from it for many years to come.

For more information on life as a student landlord, click here.

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