While there’s some concern that Brexit may yet have an impact on the number of students from abroad coming to study in the UK, there’s still great demand for student lets here in the UK and letting to students can be a lucrative option. With seven in ten landlords reportedly refusing to let out their properties to students, could entering this niche be an option for you?
Whether you’re an existing buy to let landlord or a student who has a little capital behind them and contemplating buying to let to friends, it’s worth noting that UK student accommodation yields have been fairly stable since 2006 according to Empiric. And as Richard Lambert, chief executive recently pointed out when speaking to the Telegraph, `’student lets offer the highest rental yields and are least likely to experience rental areas compared to other tenants, such as professionals, couples, or families.” Since many parents usually act as guarantors for students, they could prove far less of a risk than other types of tenants. If this sounds like the type of investment you’re looking to make, today we’re sharing a few essential design features that can add appeal in student digs.
Be generous with bathrooms
The days when students were happy with a bed, desk and sink in their own room are long gone. As a student landlord you’ll usually be expected to provide white goods along basic furniture like beds and desks, but students often expect a little more these days. Multiple bathrooms are a real plus when it comes to student living and if the accommodation houses bedrooms over multiple floors, it’s useful to have bathrooms situated accordingly too. Bedrooms with en suites naturally command higher rental yields, so if you’re planning some layout changes on a buy-to-let property you’ve bought, think carefully about whether fewer bedrooms upgraded to include en suites may be a smarter swap than creating more bedrooms. Be sure to check out the cost of the competition in your area before your embark on renovations too as well as getting a feel for which properties are snapped up quickly. While luxury student accommodation has become more popular in recent years it’s not within every students’ budget, so it’s best to have a clear idea of what type of accommodation is already available and the type of students you’d like to attract.
Carefully plan communal areas
When you’re renting to a group of students, equal if not more attention needs to be paid to the communal areas compared to the individual bedrooms. And from a landlord’s perspective, you need to think of functionality as well as fun. When it comes to carpets, wall coverings and kitchen surfaces, it’s sensible to choose hardwearing and easy to clean materials without compromising too much on appearance. While it’s not fair to assume students will match up to their messy stereotypes, you ought to consider that such areas will undergo substantial use and thus wear and tear. Flat screen TVs, American style fridges and fancy hot tubs have instant appeal and as such are the latest must-haves in top end student accommodation. However, a great Wifi connection throughout the home and well thought out outdoor and indoor entertainment areas will be appreciated much more in the longer term. If you’re working on a property with a garden, think about practical changes like adding secure bi-fold doors for use when your tenants are hosting summer barbecues or doing some study in the open air.
Location, location, location
There are larger student populations in some cities than others, and thus some areas continue to have a real shortage of quality, affordable student accommodation. One recent survey by SPCE found that 70 per cent of students feel that student accommodation is often in poor condition and run down. Commit to meeting that need and you could really be onto a winner. Proximity to a place of study, public transport links and other amenities such as supermarkets, bars and cafes are all likely to be part of a potential student letter’s lust list. But don’t overlook other potential pulls such as local gyms, parks and green spaces or doctor’s surgeries. And, while parking won’t be essential for all, it will definitely be seen as a plus, particularly by parents dropping off their offspring for the term ahead!
Have you let out property to students in the past? What would be your advice to other would-be landlords considering entering the market? And, if you’re a student, have you thought about becoming a live in landlord?