If you’re planning on renting out your property to earn a passive income, you may be inadvertently ignoring entire populations of potential tenants. While most landlords tend to focus on working adults and families, college and university students can also make good tenants. Student rentals are always in high demand around big schools, and often property owners can ask for more for multi-bedroom units. While renting to students can be lucrative, it can also pose more of a challenge to you as a landlord.
Students tend to be inexperienced homeowners and may not know how to care for their own home or apartment properly. The best thing that you can do as a property owner is to redesign your home to withstand heavy abused from even the rowdiest young roommates. Here are some tips on how you can set up your property to cater to the needs of college-aged tenants.
Don’t Forget the Floors
Carpeting gets run down quickly in any home. The constant trampling of dirty feet, accidental spills, and wear and tear from pets means that carpeting generally only lasts a few years at best. You can prolong the life of the carpeting in your property by installing a short, stain-resistant style. This type of carpeting has been chemically treated to help make fibers semi-impervious to liquid, preventing staining after even nasty spills. If you don’t want to deal with replacing your carpet at all, you may want to consider installing tile, linoleum, or hardwood flooring instead.
Choose an Off-White Decor Scheme
Carpeting isn’t the only thing susceptible to unsightly stains. Walls and ceilings can also suffer from grimy hands, splattering cooking oil, cigarette smoke, and more. Even though bright colors can help to make a room look bigger, it’s best to stick to a darker palette when decorating a space for college-aged renters. You don’t have to go too dark but may instead opt for a tan or off-white color scheme. The same goes for upholstery such as curtains, chairs or sofas.
Make Housework Easier
Living away from home may be the first time that many students have had to use appliances such as a stove or a washing machine by themselves. It’s best to equip your house with sturdy, simple, and relatively inexpensive units if you plan on renting to students. Your tenants will be less likely to break appliances, meaning that you’ll spend less money on replacements. You’re also likely to spend less on handymen, which is your responsibility as a landlord.
Secure Doors and Windows
Safety is an important consideration for college students living away from home for the first time. Both your tenants and their families will feel more at ease if you can prove that you’ve installed functional locks on all the doors and windows in the house. You may even be able to find tenants more quickly.
Giving your tenants a sense of safety isn’t the only benefit of installing new locks. You can also protect your property against break-ins, thefts, and vandalism. If your renters copy their key for friends or family members, however, it will essentially render your locks useless. You should make sure that your tenants understand that they can’t copy or hand out their keys to anyone who doesn’t live in the house.
Make Things Accessible
Students with disabilities often have trouble living in standard housing. They need homes that are modified to accommodate them, especially for those who are mobility impaired and have to use a wheelchair or crutches. You can make your property more accessible by including ramps next to or instead of stairs, and by installing extra-wide doorways. You should also avoid any thick carpeting on the floors, as it can increase the risk of tripping and make it difficult to maneuver a wheelchair.
Out of all the rooms in your property, the bathroom is the most important one to modify for tenants with a disability. The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house, with around 235,000 people going to the hospital each year for injuries sustained in the tub or on the toilet. The bathroom can be particularly hazardous for the mobility impaired. To prevent slips and falls, it’s a good idea to install grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet. You may also want to install a walk-in shower with a bench, as these are easier for those with disabilities to use.
If you’re thinking about letting out your property, don’t forget about student renters. Student housing is almost always in high demand, and you can earn a decent monthly income from a group of college-aged tenants. Most younger renters are inexperienced, however, and so it’s important to protect your property by designing it with the average student in mind.