September is almost here. That means only one thing: in the coming weeks, students will head to their university towns and cities. If you’re new to all this, and entering the market this year, or just bought a property that you’re doing up in time for the 2022-23 academic year, there are some things you ought to know. There are some key differences of which you should be aware when renting to students.
Confused About Licensing?
An HMO is a “House in Multiple Occupancy.” The legal definition is “any home with three or more people who are unrelated” who share facilities. A family of two adults and two children are not living in an HMO because they are related.
However, three sets of couples sharing a home are in an HMO.
You only need a license for something called a “Large HMO.” That means where there are five or more separate tenants. Therefore, many student HMOs are set up for four tenants rather than five.
However, some local authorities may set other criteria which you should check before accepting tenants.
Mandatory Safety Checks
This also applies to renting to tenants in the general population too. Regular electrical safety testing, also known as PAT (Portable Applicant Testing). You are also required to carry out gas and other electrical safety checks.
HMOs also require:
- A clear escape route in the event of a fire
- Carbon monoxide detectors on every floor if you have gas appliances
- All furniture and furnishings must be safety compliant – not a problem as standards usually dictate this
- Fire extinguishers are only required for HMOs with more than five tenants
Other Differences with Student Lets
In the general population, you don’t need to worry about internet service provider. Here, this is a great selling point. Students now expect to arrive in the accommodation, log straight in, and start talking to their friends and family back home about the move. They don’t want to wait (potentially weeks) to get set up. They are more than happy to include this in bills.
Another great selling point here is the EPC. Some students are environmentally conscious while others want bills to be as low as possible. In any case, ensure you do all you can to maximise energy efficiency.
The Drawbacks of Student Lets
Letting to students is a rewarding and profitable venture. However, like most things in life, it comes with challenges.
The one expense you will certainly have landlords in the general population generally do not, is furniture. It’s unreasonable to expect students with no money to buy furniture. Yield is higher, but so will your cost of repairs for general wear and tear.