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Is Letting To Students A Good Property Investment

Feb 28, 2008
There are many different markets open to you if you want to get into property investment, some more suitable than others.

Depending on the kind of property you buy, you could look to rent to single people, professional couples or maybe even families. Even then there are different types of rent - social housing, temporary accommodation, long-term rents, or somewhere for a family to live while their home is repaired or while they are moving house.

One area that isn't often explored is renting to students. You can understand why - after all, who wants to put their life savings into a property investment only to see it wrecked by some drunken frolics from over excited teenagers (but still have the property tax bill afterwards)?

So yes there are downsides to it. But there are benefits as well, including the chance to make more money, and get it out of your property investment more quickly.

Here are five good things followed by five bad things about relying on students for rental income.

1) You can get more people in a house: Your three bedroomed house will attract more income each month if you rent it to three people, compared to a couple or small family. You could even turn a lounge into a fourth bedroom. There's also less risk to your property investment from a tenant pulling out at short notice or not paying the rent on time, as you are spreading the risk across a greater number of people.

2) They will pay rent in advance: Especially if the Bank of Mum and Dad is paying the rent! Parents may be keen to know the rent has been paid, so there is no temptation to drink it instead!

3) They will accept a lower level of property: Students are not looking to make a home. They need a base to study and party. So if you buy an out-of-date property and can't afford to bring the décor up to standard quickly, this could be ideal.

4) Location is more important than facilities: Your tenants are more likely to care if the bus stops in the street than that there's a supermarket nearby. Students tend to base their lives round their a few small areas.

5) There's a guaranteed demand: You don't hear of the number of students going down, especially in a large number of key university towns. This is great news for the property investment professional. Where there's demand there's profit.

Those are the upsides. Now here are the things to watch out for with this kind of property investment:

1) Students drop out: It's said that some universities have drop out rates of a third. And a drop out early in a term could mean you have an empty room sat not earning you any cash for a number of months.

2) They will do damage: Not only is the student life style harder on a house, but having large number of tenants in and out over the years will make facilities wear out more quickly. It's advisable to put money aside every month for repairs

3) You will need to look after the house yourself: A student with two weeks of term time left is not going to bother reporting a blocked pipe. So you'll need to keep a close eye on your property and accept you may need to spend more on maintenance than with some other kind of property investment.

4) There are strict rules about Houses of Multiple Occupation: These are for safety and include the need to put your contact details on display and have regular electrical inspections. If you have five or more tenants, or the building is over three floors or more, you may even need an expensive license.

5) There's a lot of competition: You will be battling against halls of residence and other developments nearer the university. Check out plans before investing.

See Also: http://www.propertytoday.co.uk/Is-letting-to-students-a-good-property-investment.11018.3786481.story
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