Designing the Perfect Student Buy to Let

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.

Terrah Holly

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?

Collaboration

Why Insurance Is So Important

Insurance is one of those things that the majority of us have but the majority of us also moan about paying. But insurance is SO important. Whether you are ensuring your life, your home, your car or your pet, insurance makes sure that you are covered for most eventualities.

We currently have life insurance, contents and car insurance. We’ve also been considering getting private medical and serious illness insurance too. I am currently the sole wage earner and with self employment being up and down as it is, if I was to get seriously ill and not be able to work then we would really be up the creek without a paddle. We’ve been looking at different providers such as Rigby Financial who offer a wide range of insurance products.

Luckily we have never had to claim on any of our insurance products but paying the monthly or annual sums is so worth the peace of mind to know that we are covered in case anything does happen. I want to make sure that my children will be well cared for and comfortable should anything happen to me, hence life insurance. I want to make sure that we are staying within the law and that if we were to be an accident, repairs would be covered, hence car insurance. Contents insurance is there to ensure that our possessions are covered for – with two kids around, accidents do happen and whilst certain possessions aren’t necessities to have, its nice to be able to replace them.

Christopher Harris

I don’t understand people who don’t have insurance – especially those who are breaking the law and endangering others by not having it! Wouldn’t you want to protect everything you love, everything you have, everything you own? I know I certainly do!

Obviously insurance comes with terms and conditions and clauses and you need to be exactly sure what you are covered for – there may be a substantial excess charge or that thing you thought was covered isn’t – and then where will you be? However, just because there is certain clauses that is by no means an excuse not to have insurance.

No matter my budget and how low my income may get at times due to the perils of self employment, I always make sure I have money in to cover my insurance products as I don’t want to be left high and dry should something horrible happen to myself, my home or my car.

Insurance is one of my most important bills and one I am more than happy to pay…is it yours?

Collaborative Post

Rubbish Removal: What We Save and What It Costs

According to the latest calculations from Highways England, it is costing about £8 million a year for rubbish removal from the roads in England. Moreover, these funds are coming straight out of the pockets of hard working tax paying citizens. What makes this even sadder is the fact that this same money could be going towards the community in so many ways, if people would just refrain from discarding their rubbish illegally and in public places. For every bag of rubbish that has to be collected, the same money could be used to fill a pot hole.

People who litter rarely think twice about the costs of what they are doing. They buy a snack, tear open the packaging, eat the snack, and then toss the wrapper wherever they happen to be at the time. They may pass a fly tipping hot spot and not have the moral conviction to not “pile on” to this illegal act. They may be more motivated by how much they think they’ll save than what it will cost society to abandon their trash on public roads.

There are costs that go far beyond the direct financial burden of agencies like Highways England removing rubbish. Detectives have to spend time searching for offenders and we all know time is money! Local councils have to devote time on their agendas to figure out how to deal with littering hot spots in the community. Public employees have to spend time planning out ways to encourage more people not to litter. Local organizations have to use their resources and time for litter picking and other programs on rubbish removal. These are all “hidden” costs that people don’t always realize.

There are also costs to entire families if one member of the family gets caught littering. If a fly tipper is caught red handed, he or she is fined a minimum of £400. This can have a profound impact on the household budget for the entire family, especially for families on tighter budgets. This can affect a family’s ability to acquire necessities like food and clothing. It can be the difference between getting a new piece of furniture or not. It can also impact the family vacation or the Christmas holiday.

If you happen to see anyone who is about to fly tip, you can intervene by letting them know how easy it is to schedule an appointment with Clearabee for rubbish removal right from their home or business. Let them know they can even get an estimate of how much it will cost by sending Clearabee a picture of the rubbish. If they refuse to listen and fly tip anyway, if you can do so safely, take a picture of them with your mobile phone or at least jot down an accurate description of the fly tipper, and a car license plate number if you can, and pass this information to the police. Even though it will be a hard (and costly) lesson for them to learn, the more word spreads that people are willing to do this, the less littering and fly tipping will occur.

There are also environmental costs when rubbish removal cannot keep up with the littering. According to WDC (Whale and Dolphin Conservation), approximately one million marine mammals and birds are killed each year as the direct result from getting entangled in discarded plastic. Off the coast of Scotland, many minke whales have been seen and photographed entangled in plastic. Some sea creatures, such as sea turtles, actually mistake the floating plastic for plankton food and ingest it, killing them from the inside out. Of course, there’s also the cost of unseemly rubbish heaps that decreases one’s ability to enjoy nature.

Some people mistakenly believe that littering food is okay because it is biodegradable. Further, these same people tend to think that discarded food does not need rubbish removal services because it will eventually decompose. However, discarded food is a very serious environmental problem. Often, it ends up in lakes, ponds, creeks, streams, and other bodies of water where it causes wide scale outbreaks of algal blooms. This depletes the water of oxygen and causes aquatic wildlife to die. Some human food is actually toxic to wildlife as well. Further, decomposing organic matter also produces methane gas that can cause uncontrolled fires and contributes to the greenhouse effect.

While there are always costs associated with rubbish removal, the savings far outweigh the costs. Clearabee is a company that was created with this idea in mind and has pledged since day one of their operation to offer rubbish removal services that keep as much of the litter out of the landfills as possible. When Clearabee picks up rubbish, they purposefully look for a Waste Transfer Station that will either upcycle or recycle the rubbish they deliver to them, with a preference for upcycling. In fact, they maintain a very extensive database of these Waste Transfer Stations across the entire country so they can always know where to take the rubbish.

Companies like Clearabee, along with the collaborative efforts of conscientious citizens, are reducing the costs of rubbish removal, while at the same time, increasing what we save. Hopefully, these efforts will continue to be contagious as more people begin to understand all the costs of littering, fly tipping, and allowing their rubbish to end up in landfills.

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