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Five Pros And Cons Of Renting A Home To A Student

Even Ivy League school schools produce deadbeat student tenants. Here are the pros and cons of student housing.

By Jeff Vasishta February 7, 2017

For many years, student rentals were thought of as the golden egg for landlords. For a student attending well-regarded college, paying rent and avoiding issues with a landlord was essential to graduating and avoiding any unnecessary drama. However, a recent story in the De Moines Register shows that landlords may be willing to cut a few too many corners in their quest to lure students into handing over their parents’ hard earned money.

In the story, a reporter, who is actually a resident of the neighborhood she is writing about, goes undercover posing as the mother of a student looking for accommodation. What she discovers is that landlords are willing to cram in students ten to a house if need be, contravening housing codes by putting up makeshift walls to maximize rents. For residents who have seen the movies “Neighbors” (both 1 and 2), fears of turning a tranquil college town neighborhood into a frat house party zone are only too real.

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Here are five pros and cons for having student housing in your neighborhood

Pros

  • Not all students are beer-swilling, techno-blasting, sex-crazed frat bros. If you manage to get post grads, chances are their wild undergrad days are behind them and they want nothing more than a quiet place to live so they can progress in their academic career.
  • For landlords, the incentive for having student tenants is clear—regular high rents. Getting a parental guarantee on the lease may also be a possibility. If that’s the case, make sure it says the parents will be held responsible for damage if the student cannot pay. It should keep the students in line and the neighborhood quiet. Get the students to sign a 12-month lease in June as school ends to guarantee a residence for the following September and your rent is good for 12 months.
  • Screening students is the way to go. Many are in need of cash. If you find some good ones, they may also offer to do odd jobs such as babysitting and yard work for the neighbors, in the hope of a good reference. Some can be assets—not liabilities.

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  • Prime student housing appraises higher than regular rentals because students generally pay more in rent. If you are keen on the value of your properties remaining high, being in a student-heavy neighborhood is often a good thing.
  • Basic rental grade apartments are OK. Student housing gets a lot of wear and tear and only a loony landlord would lay out their rental like the Bellagio in Vegas. Formica—not granite, laminate flooring—not carpet is the way to go. Usually when a tenant moves, all the apt needs is a good cleans and new coat of paint.

Cons

  • As stated, the movie “Neighbors” may evoke your worst fears. Beer kegs, debauchery, and student “renovations” will be enough to keep you up at night and have your neighbors calling the cops.
  • Collecting rent can be a pain. If there are five students living in your place, usually a handful are unreliable and there’s usually one or two who have a conscience and pester the other for their portion of the rent. When the reliable ones have had enough of covering for their slacker roommates they usually move out, leaving you with the slackers. Amazing how resourceful deadbeats suddenly become in calling Legal Aid to avoid eviction and paying rent.
  • If you miss the lease signing season for students, the summer months may be particularly barren and you may have to go an entire year with no rent.
  • If you like the idea of long term stable tenants, student housing probably isn’t for you. Turnover may be higher than a student union bar on a Friday night and rent payments maybe inconsistent due to a teenager’s complete lack of responsibility regarding money management.
  • Finding insurance may be tough. Drunk students do the strangest things. Make sure you’re not on the hook for their antics. If your insurance company pays out once, chances are they won’t like the idea of covering student housing any more. Insurance companies often scatter like cockroaches with the lights on when they discover you’ve got students living in your rental.
Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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