Advantages and disadvantages of renting to college students

Written on November 28, 2017 by , updated on November 30, 2017

College StudentCollege students should live in dorms, right? Not always.

When students prefer privacy over convenience, they choose to live in apartments or houses. That’s how they can really feel at home. When they rent a place, they can get more space, cook their own food, and have guests whenever they want.

However, students can bring extra complexities to the landlord-tenant relationship. Here are some of the pros and cons of accepting college students as tenants.


Advantages of renting your property to college students

  1. Necessity
    The need for college housing off campus is huge, so it should be easy for you to find tenants if you own property near a college or university. Students who decide they want more privacy and wish to leave the dorm rooms need housing. People who can’t find jobs and are returning to school might also need rentals.
  2. Low vacancy
    Due to high demand, you can start the leasing process early. The rental properties in Davis, CA, for example, start the leasing season in February for terms that start in the fall.
  3. Empowering a younger generation
    You’re helping young people. American students are paying a fortune in tuition, and sometimes they have to share dorm rooms. They want more privacy. If you decide to rent your place to college students, you’re helping them to get the college life they envisioned.
  4. Lower expectations
    Students want things to be functional, but in many cases, they won’t expect luxury. They know they can’t have the most modern apartments with fancy appliances. So if your property doesn’t have high-end amenities, it might be easier to rent it to students.
  5. Co-signers
    If you’re concerned about the rent, here’s the deal: sometimes parents cover it. This will help minimize how much you worry about collecting the rent when you accept college students as your tenants. Some parents will even pay an entire semester up-front.
  6. It’s easy to find tenants
    You can advertise your property for free through sites like Cozy. You may also be able to advertise on the university’s official website.

The risks

Can college students be a landlord’s worst nightmare? It depends. When you read that college students destroy properties, it’s only natural to freak out. Here are some of the disadvantages, so you’ll know what to expect.

  1. No rental history
    Have you established tenant screening criteria? It might be hard to use those methods when accepting college students as tenants. These tenants may not have a rental history for you to check. And they might not have jobs, or they’re employed part-time. Without this type of financial information, it’s difficult to evaluate the reliability of a tenant. If the parents agree to pay up-front, or if they’re the ones who will pay you each month, you can counteract this lack of info.
  2. Immaturity
    Some college students are on their own for the first time and free from parental control. When you combine that with immaturity, the situation can be scary for a landlord.
  3. Potential for increased damage
    Since students rent apartments for the short-term, they don’t care much about the way they use the place. The rate of wear-and-tear can go up when you accept them as tenants. Some students will even damage property because they don’t understand its value.
  4. Parties, parties, parties
    College parties can be a big problem. Other tenants at the property might complain about noise. You can set rigorous rules and control the property, but the parties will still happen from time to time. Be prepared.
  5. Lack of concern for utilities
    If you’re the one covering the utility bills, know the amounts can be higher than average when you rent to college students.

Minimize the risks

You can minimize these disadvantages if you get your attorney to create a special lease, which includes co-signers (the student’s parents). If anything happens, you will hold the parents responsible. This agreement will have clauses on maximum occupancy, noise, and repairs.

If you have the student pay the utility bills, they will control the way they use the heat and air conditioning.

As for the screening and credit history, you can check with the parents. If they seem like responsible people, you can expect this student to be a safe choice as a tenant.

Finally, it’s up to you. It’s easy to find students willing to pay for your property, but you should always be aware of the risks.

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