Landlords who primarily rent to college students tend to run into specific issues that other property owners may not face. It’s important to be aware of these potential pitfalls and landlord challenges to make the most of your experience as a landlord.
If you own rental property near a college or university, use these tips when renting to college students and other rental applicants to avoid headaches and stay profitable:
1. It’s All in the Lease
It’s crucial to set specific house (or apartment) rules and get it in writing. Establish set policies about occupancy, how many guests they can have over at any one time, and how subletting should be handled should the need arise. Create a “late fee” policy as well as fees and fines that will be deducted for specific infractions such as property damage, not cleaning the unit before they vacate, etc. Put it all in writing in the lease, and make sure each renter reads and signs it.
2. Screen Each Candidate
A look into the background of each potential renter can either confirm their reputation or alert you to red flags about their past. Credit checks, criminal records, tenant eviction records and their history as a renter can all be checked with a quality tenant screening service.
3. Enact a Flammables Policy
Some landlords who rent primarily to students establish a “no flammables” policy for their own as well as the students’ protection. This means that smoking as well as open flames are not allowed; this would include candles, incense and bonfires in the yard. If flammables will be allowed in your property, be sure to enforce the presence of a fire extinguisher on the property and ensure that each tenant knows how to use it.
4. Make Utilities Their Responsibility
Some young adults haven’t yet learned how to handle responsibilities such as turning down the heat at night or making sure the windows are closed when running the A/C. While you might consider including fixed services like Internet or trash pickup in the rental cost, it’s best to make more open-ended services like heat and electric the tenant’s responsibility.
Renting to college students has its share of potential challenges, but it can also be very lucrative and rewarding. Use these four tips to help you connect with high caliber tenants and make the most of your experience while renting to college students.
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