Creating a Positive Business Environment

Five Property Management Tips For Student Rentals

by Ritthy Collins

If you are lucky enough to own a rental property in a college town, you have a never-ending supply of potential tenants on hand. Student tenants are a bit different than other types of tenants, so there are some unique property management issues you will have to contend with.

1. Cosigner and Income Verification

Most students do not have sufficient income or a rental history to qualify for a lease on their own. For this reason, cosigners and alternative income verification is a must. Parent or guardian cosigners should be preferred over friends that offer to cosign. As for income, your property manager may use the cosigner's income in lieu of the student's income, or they may accept alternative income sources such as school financial aid awards, student stipends, or scholarship funds.

2. Property Damage and Maintenance

Many of your tenants may be on their own for the first time, which means they may unwittingly cause damage by ignoring common issues in the unit. Messy apartments and the resultant pests problems are another issue. First and foremost, your property manager needs to make maintenance easy. An online or text-based portal for maintenance calls is more likely to be utilized by a student compared to making a call. It's also important to require a sufficient deposit to cover possible damage and to set rent at a level that covers most of the common repairs needed in student apartments.

3. Facilities and Amenities

Students are more likely to choose your property if it offers the amenities they need. Provide onsite laundry, for example, as students likely won't want to go off property to do their laundry. Onsite laundry is better with students than in-unit laundry, since you don't want to chance damage to expensive appliances from novice users. Including internet in their rental package can also draw in tenants, since most students need online access for school work.

4. Automated Systems

Make sure rent payments are made on time by using an automated payment portal. Students are more likely to pay rent via an automatic withdrawal or online rather than writing out and dropping off or mailing a check. You can even offer a small discount to tenants that sign up for automatic payments.

5. Appealing Lease Terms

Finally, make sure your lease terms are appealing to students. Most students only need an apartment for about 10 months out of the year, which can leave you with two months of no rental income. You can manage this by insisting on year-long leases with high fees to break the lease, or you can offer the shorter-term lease at a slightly higher rate in order to offset the summer income loss.

Contact a property management service for more help.