According to the university admissions service UCAS, a record 40.5% of all 18-year-olds in the UK applied to go to university in 2021. This means that, as time goes on, the demand for student housing will only continue to rise.
Renting a property out to students is a worthwhile investment, but that’s not to say it doesn’t come without risks. As a student property landlord, you have a duty of care and must protect yourself, your tenants, and your assets.
So, just what rights and responsibilities do you have as a landlord?
Check with your local council to ensure you are complying with the new regulations of HMO licensing
On October 1, 2018, new regulations came into force for licensing purposes. A property that is led to five or more people forming two or more separate households is now classed as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). The changes to the regulations also state that landlords must provide suitable refuse facilities.
Health and safety regulations
While tenants are living on your property, you – or an employed professional – must fit and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, as well as carry out fire risk assessments. You should check that has appliances are fitted and working correctly and inform the students of what they must do in an event of a fire.
Ensure the property is safe and free from disrepair
Every tenant has a legal right to live in a home that is safe and free from harm. As a landlord, it is your responsibility to make sure that the property is secure and free from disrepair. If the students come to you to raise an issue, and you don’t resolve it within a reasonable amount of time, the individuals living inside your apartment or house could make a housing disrepair compensation claim against you.
Before each new tenancy, you must ensure that:
- The property has been decorated to a reasonable standard
- Electrical items and gas supplies are tested
- The heating functions properly
- Smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and other such items are working
Get the correct insurance
Landlord insurance is particularly important. If you currently have an insurance policy, double-check to find out if it will cover you for student tenancies. If not, it’s essential that you get contents cover, and accidental damage, especially if you are offering a fully furnished place.
Provide student-specific furnishings
After attending lectures or seminars, students come back to the comfort of their own homes to complete their essays or coursework, before relaxing, cooking, and sleeping. Another responsibility that falls on a landlord is to ensure that they have the right tools to be able to do this. In the house, ensure that you invest in the likes of good quality carpets or laminate flooring, sturdy beds, solid drawers, fabric sofas with removable covers, or leather sofas that can be wiped down easily, and tiles for the bathroom and kitchen.