If you own property near a local college campus, you’ll likely have applications from college students come in around the start of each semester. Having college student renters presents its own set of unique opportunities and challenges that are different from tenants that are part of a family, couple, or are elderly.
If you are new to college-age renters or struggling to meet their needs, here are some tips for maintaining a healthy relationship with them.
Be a Teacher
If the students are younger and just starting out in college, be prepared to have renters that have never rented before. This means you might have to put in a little more effort to stress the rules and expectations for your property. For example, make sure they understand when payments are due, how they can make them (if you have an online tenant portal set up, that will really eliminate headaches in this area), and what expenses are included or not included in the rent each month. You can also make this available on your website in a FAQ section.
Consider Amenity Needs
College towns are often built to fit many of the needs and activities of students, so it’s important to make sure your property fits in too. Consider the following areas when working on your property listings and amenities:
- Transportation: Remember that often students will not have their own vehicle, so they will be looking for living places within walking distance of restaurants, places of entertainment, and grocery stores.
- Shareable housing: Single students will likely be interested in sharing a home or apartment with a roommate, or they will be looking for communities where their friends can be neighbors.
- Close to their school: Obviously, students will want to be close to or able to easily access their college campus. Consider local transit opportunities from your property to their school.
- Employment opportunities: Service-industry jobs are common for students who are working part-time. Therefore, they will be more likely to live somewhere close to places they can also find work.
- Screening process: Since a lot of first-time renter students will not have a solid rental or credit history, you might have to modify your screening process to include parents’ information. Also, you might need to consider altering your security deposit and rental fees somewhat to account for frequent vacancies from move-ins and move-outs each season.
Offer Online Payment Options
Most students do not use checks and are accustomed to paying for everything online. They will also have less traditional schedules, so offering online payment will make it easy for them to pay rent at anytime. Plus, it allows you to easily track payments.
Part of being a successful property owner means listening to the needs of your tenants and fitting their lifestyle (to a reasonable extent). College students can be great renters if you are prepared for the different experiences they’ll bring.