As a landlord, you’ll receive a lot of rental applications from students who want to stay off-campus for more privacy and convenience. This is more likely if your property is located near a university or college.
For most landlords student tenants spark a nightmarish image of noisy parties, irresponsible lifestyle, loud and constant complaints, late payments, and generally unruly behaviours that lead to property damage. Consequently, many landlords avoid and refuse to let out their property to them.
But these impressions are not always correct, a recent survey by a leading insurance provider showed that compared to tenants in full-time employment, student tenants are more pliable and account for 10% claims. Still, you have to be wary when renting to a student to be sure your new tenant is a reliable and responsible one.
Getting a good landlord insurance policy is a surefire guarantee to protect yourself in the event of property damage or financial loss resulting from it.
Here are a few red flags you should note when discussing tenancy with a prospective student tenant.
Who Is Their Rental Guarantor?
A student tenant is not engaged in full time employment and relies on others – parents, scholarship, loans – to get by. You need to be certain your prospective student tenant will not struggle to pay their rent at some point. A rental guarantor is a security blanket or a back-up in the event they are unable to continue their financial obligations to you, so you’re not shortchanged.
What is Their Lifestyle?
You could deduce this from their personality, background checks and general attitude. Is it just the applicant that is moving in or are they a group? Do they have any pets and what kind? Do they smoke? If you have a ‘no pet’ and ‘no-smoking’ policy on your property, this should rule the prospective tenant out.
Have They Been Evicted Before?
This should be a direct question and should elicit an honest response. The issue shouldn’t be about the eviction, but the reason, whether good, bad or circumstantial.
What Is Their Current Address?
Your prospective tenant may want to shield you from their current landlord because of a bad reputation and may try to be deceptive about it. That is a bad sign.
Too Many Mistakes on the Rental Application?
If there’s an unreasonable number of errors on the application form – spelling mistakes, cross-outs and rewrites of current address or school information –, be wary. It may not simply be a mistake, but a desperation to hide something fishy. Do further background checks to be sure you’re renting your property to the right person.