As a landlord, marketing your properties towards the student market makes sense. Not only do you get access to more than 2.3 million potential tenants at any one time, but tenants stay for at least nine months of the year, and demand is almost guaranteed year-on-year.
However, the student accommodation market is growing increasingly competitive, and in some areas, supply outstrips demand, and so doing everything you can to stand out is critical if you want to retain high occupancy and deliver a return on your rental investment.
According to UCAS, 57% of second and third-year students had secured accommodation for the following academic year by the end of March. As a landlord, marketing your properties in advance and allowing students to hand over deposits to secure a tenancy makes sense.
Be sure to develop in a social media strategy to increase brand awareness, take lots of high-quality photographs of your properties, and offer current tenants an incentive if they renew their contract for the next academic year to save you admin time and marketing costs.
55% of students will move into a rented property after they graduate to secure internships and jobs, so if you’ve got a portfolio of properties, make sure you’re promoting them to the right people. Exhibit at careers fairs, promote to current tenants via email marketing and printed media and position yourself as a local housing expert that tenants can depend on.
UCAS suggests that 57% of students would pay a premium for faster WiFi, so consider the benefits of bundling in a high-speed broadband package into their monthly rent. If you’re renting out a property to multiple tenants, you could even offer basic WiFi and an optional upgrade to add a revenue stream to your business, though beware of password sharing!
25% of students would pay a rental premium for discounts on local shops and attractions, so consider bundling something like that into a premium rental product. At Billing Better, for example, we offer our customers discounts on food shops, meals out, cinema tickets and 50% discounts on trips to Thorpe Park and Alton Towers, as well as a monthly rent lottery.
89% of students said they were interested in “bills included” rental products, so consider the benefits of partnering with Billing Better and allowing tenants to pay one monthly fee for their rent and their household bills. You could earn £50.00 per property, per month when offering an all-inclusive service, or £20.00 per property, per month when referring your tenants to us.
On that note, how many students are choosing all-inclusive rental products? 68%, according to a Save the Student survey. Student accommodation firms like Bunked, Preston Baker and Urban Shared are already working with us, and we’d love to work with your lettings firm, too.
Surprisingly, average tenant satisfaction in shared student accommodation was higher (at 80%) than students in single-person flats or accommodation (71%). That’s great news for landlords and property investors looking to maximise their yield - rather than self-contained apartments, opt for student accommodation with communal living spaces and bathrooms.
According to Save the Student, 44% of students are struggling to keep up with their rental payments, something to bear in mind when letting out your properties. Ensure you work with guarantors when letting out your properties to students, or ask for students to pay for their entire year’s rent upfront for added peace of mind. And be supportive - offer students advice on your website and make it a unique selling point that you can offer rent payment flexibility.
Make sure your properties are dampproofed and fit for purpose. Damp or lack of heating and hot water affects 1 in 3 students, according to Save the Student, so conduct regular property maintenance to keep tenants safe and comfortable. Doing so will also reduce the costs associated with last-minute call-outs. What’s more, a patch of damp is terrible PR for your business, resulting in bad reviews and a damaged reputation, so be proactive.
1 in 3 students are left waiting up to a month for maintenance issues to be fixed once they have been reported, resulting in poor tenant satisfaction. Invest in an appropriate property maintenance company or protocol to ensure issues are dealt with quickly; that way, your tenants will be happy and more likely to renew their tenancy agreement for another year.
How many of these statistics shocked you? Join in the conversation using @Billing_Better and check back soon for more tips on managing student accommodation as a landlord.