For landlords, a common question they ask themselves is whether or not they should rent to college students. Even those who don’t necessarily want to, it can be tempting if the home is located near the university, or, if the house hasn’t been renting for a while. Keep in mind that there are benefits and risks no matter what demographic you rent to. Here are some benefits and risks of renting to college students.
• Many young people can’t find jobs and so they are returning to school. This creates a greater need for college housing, both on and off campus.
• Properties near universities typically can ask for more in rent.
• It is typical for parents to cover their child’s rent while in college; this should give you peace of mind, because rent will likely always be paid on time.
• Students usually do not have as high of expectations when it comes to where they live. They also do not usually have unnecessary demands the way that older renters do, and aren’t usually as picky when it comes to appliances.
• Sometimes they pay in advance. Sometimes parents would rather just pay for a semester in the beginning rather than continue to pay each month, worrying if their child is going to forget to give you the rent check or not.
• You can advertise the apartment on the college’s website, as well as around campus. College students usually begin their apartment search on their university’s homepage.
• Younger adults can be immature and lack control. They may have parties, be noisy, or not take care of the house. Beware especially if you have carpet.
• Students have little to no experience living away from their parents yet. They are used to everything being taken care of for them. They likely haven’t had to do their own laundry, clean the dishes, pay the bills, or anything of the sort.
• Students are harder on apartments that older adults as they don’t plan on staying long. This means they have less incentive to keep the place up.
• Certain institutions are known as party schools, increasing the risk that some students may do damage to their apartments.
• Have your attorney craft a special lease tailored to renting to college students. It should include co-signers as well as clauses on noise, maximum occupancy, and damages/repairs.
• Add both parents to the rental agreement as co-signers since minors can’t enter into legally binding contracts. Consider having parents co-sign even if the student isn’t a minor.
• Specify rules that may sound unusual but are probably necessary. They would include staying off the roof as well as banning candle burning, fireworks or fires, and charcoal grills.
• Have the student pay the utilities. They should see the result of having the air conditioning going all day or leaving the heat turned on full blast.
• Conduct tenant screenings on both the students and the parents. Students can be difficult to screen since they won’t have much, (if any) of a credit history. That’s why you should screen the parents as well.
• Find out from the school if whether or not your prospective tenant has been evicted from a dorm.
• Hire a third party to monitor the building, similar to a Resident Assistant in a college dorm. Offer free rent for them to keep an eye on things for you.