Landlords should forget what they were prepared to put up with as undergraduates 10 or 20 years ago.
Ensuites, Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs come as standard in modern, purpose-built residences, and students also expect similar standards from private rented accommodation.
“Today’s students will be in debt up to their eyeballs when they graduate, but they often have more ready cash than their counterparts even just a decade ago – and they are more discerning and savvy than ever,” says James Davis, chief executive of the online estate agency Upad.
“From a landlord’s perspective, students represent a lucrative opportunity,” he adds. “Despite popular belief, they are the most reliable tenants as they often have their rent subsidised by student loans or with parents as guarantors.”
Davis adds that students are also “happy to fill up a six-bedroom house” – but buy-to-let (BTL) investors should beware of added regulations that surround houses of multiple occupation (HMOs).
Student lets come with the added benefits that they are arranged early – often up to six months in advance – which should minimise the risk of void periods.
Sally Fraser, of Stacks Property Search, says: “With students, landlords have a guaranteed market that is predictable whatever is happening in the economy.”
Students want well-modernised, clean, low-maintenance properties that are close to their university and social life.
In London, in particular, there is another tier of demand from so-called “silver-spoon students”, usually from overseas and seeking top-of-the-range, centrally located apartments.
Penny Mosgrove, chief executive at Quintessentially Estates, says: “It is now more common for students of this type to live on their own or in pairs in new-build developments with concierges and gyms. Examples of this are on City Road, within walking distance of City, University of London, and new developments in Mile End and Bow, handy for Queen Mary.”