Archive for the ‘Renting to students’ Category

Tips For Renting To Students from University of Toronto Housing Services

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

 

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Do You Want to Become a Successful Student Housing Landlord? 

We continue to get a lot of messages and comments from people who want to rent to students. OLA members have written how much they appreciated our previous posts on the topic and want more. In fact, our interview with the U of T Housing Services team received tremendous feedback and helped many small landlords succeed in renting to students so we asked them for more tips for 2016.

Many new investors and future landlords were student tenants themselves at one point and remember their time renting. They remember how they were looking for safe and attractive rental properties run by a great landlord.

Some say they never found the type of property or landlord they really hoped for during their uni or college days, and want to provide a terrific rental experience for the students of today. They remember how they followed the rules, always fulfilled their lease obligations and paid the rent on time. They were great tenants and now would like to rent to great tenants.

Even small residential landlords who aren’t near colleges or universities are also becoming very interested in buying a student rental property. They know they can apply their skills and knowledge as experienced, professional, service-oriented landlords to create rental properties for students who are looking for high quality rentals.

In order to help people interested in getting into student housing we interviewed the University of Toronto’s Housing Services team. They are a terrific resource for both landlords and tenants.

Here are some of our questions and terrific tips:

Many of our members have spoken about your helpful tips for landlords on Twitter.  When did the U of T team start using twitters to get the message out?

We starting actively using Twitter in late 2015. It’s been a great way for us to stay connected with our landlords and the housing community!

How does your service help landlords in 2016?

We offer a site where landlords can advertise their rental unit whether it be short- or long-term, private or shared accommodation.  Our site averages 13,000+ visitors each month including U of T, George Brown, OCAD, and ESL school students,  U of T staff and faculty, and students of other post-secondary institutions.

We offer various pricing options, insider tips on topics such as creating more attractive ads for students, average rental rates in the area, and current legislation.

Your ad will be visible to our users 24/7, you can track how many times your ad has been viewed, include extensive details such a floors plans and other photos.

Has anything about your services changed for 2016?

Yes! We are pleased to announce that we’ve launched a new and improved Off-Campus Housing website. The new site is mobile-friendly and has many new enhancements requested by our users. As a result of the enhancements, it is now more frequently used by faculty and staff, and is promoted by the University’s Faculty Relocation Office.

With property prices appreciating fast are there more options for tenants this year?

We have seen a slight increase in ads so far this summer – our improved service has attracted new landlords whom have never listed with us before.

We have many new members who have invested in student housing. What tips can you provide to help them attract good tenants?

Good landlords attract good tenants. A good landlord is someone who follows the guidelines of the RTA and stands by their responsibilities to maintain their unit accordingly.

Being such a large institution, our users are diverse: undergraduate and graduate students, staff and faculty, as well as students attending other post-secondary schools who are looking for housing in the Toronto/Scarborough/Mississauga.

Our users are looking for places that are fairly close to our three campuses (or near a major transit line), offer competitive rental rates, include utilities, and where possible, a flexible lease agreement (i.e. month-to-month, 8-month leases, or ability to sublet in the summer). We encourage your members to include in their ad any amenities and features that might be attractive to our users such as laundry facilities, dishwasher, a backyard or patio, natural light, air conditioning, or WIFI.

What kinds of things are students looking for in choosing one rental over another?

Move-in date, budget, and location are the key factors, but students are definitely attracted to places that offers some of the amenities and features mentioned above (laundry facilities, dishwasher, a backyard or patio, natural light, air conditioning, or WIFI).

Do you have any tips on how new landlords renting to students can ‘start off right’ for the coming academic year?

To start the tenancy off right, ensure the place is in good condition when the student moves in, so they can focus on getting settled and starting classes without the added stress of trying to sort out maintenance and repair issues.

If the landlord shares a place with the student, it’s important to respect their privacy and remember that a student’s schedule can be very hectic depending on their program. They may have early mornings and late-night study sessions. We encourage our students to be involved on campus, so they need a supportive home environment to make that possible.

Are there anything about rentals that you hear students don’t like and wish landlords would change about rental properties?

The most frequently raised concern is that many landlords want a 12 month lease agreement. This can be a deterrent for students who do not live in Toronto for the summer and need to worry about finding a sublet. We do our best to educate and offer advice on the process of finding a sublet, but it is still something that many students are worried about (especially during their exam period in April).

During the academic year, we hear more about maintenance and repair issues. It would be helpful if landlords provided information at the start of the tenancy on how to request repairs, and promptly resolved maintenance and repair issues when they are brought to their attention.

Tips For Renting To Students

Are you thinking of becoming a student housing landlord? If you are make sure you do a lot of research and you can join a growing community of successful student landlords.

Renting To Students in Ontario

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

March 1st, 2014

Tips On How Can You Become a Successful Student From University of Toronto Housing Services

Tips On How Can You Become a Successful Student Landlord From University of Toronto Housing Services

Residential landlords in Ontario face a lot of challenges.

Whether it’s professional tenants manipulating the system to avoid paying rent or the government 2014 guideline allowing you to raise the rent only 0.8%, the challenges are real and daunting.

(Although you might be exempt and can raise the rent above the guideline if you own new buildings!)

Many existing landlords and new investors have written in with questions regarding renting to students.

After all, students are usually less jaded than older folks and have worked hard to gain entry into university.

With a heavy load of studies and busy social lives they are less inclined to think of ways to bring their landlord to the Landlord and Tenant Board and ‘play the system’.

Examples of students causing major (and expensive) problems for their landlords exist.

Take a look at this story from the Peterborough Examiner.

However, it seems renting to students attending colleges and universities is a profitable and safer way for you to invest in residential rental properties in Ontario.

Many landlords who rent to students have positive things to say about their investment choice on the Ontario Landlords Forum:

“I like renting to students. My houses are downtown near 3 universities in Toronto, so most of my tenants have been students.

Rent is secure, as they usually have OSAP or parental income to cover the rent.

I have indeed had students ask me to change their lightbulbs but I just tell them it is up to them to do that, offer them a ladder, and it isn’t an issue …

The dormitories at school usually only take first year students, and for second year the students have to find their own place (due to lack of space in the dorms to house everyone), so if you can get a group of second year students, you’ve got tenants for 3 more years and then they usually move out.

Best of all…No professional tenants among students…!”

Are You Interested In Renting To Students Yet?

We contacted the University of Toronto for help on getting some tips and advice on what students want from their landlords.

The Manager of Housing Services for the University of Toronto is Jennifer Radley. 

Jennifer provided answers to our questions and we appreciate her assistance. 

10 Tips On How To Be a Successful Student Landlord

Here are some of our questions to Jennifer and her tips.

 #1 What are student tenants looking for in a rental property?

Students are looking for a place that is either close to campus or along a transit line and close to amenities. Ideally, the monthly rent would be within the average rates already listed in our registry and would include utilities. If renting a basement apartment, students look for adequate lighting and windows. Above all, students want a safe, reasonably-maintained rental unit, and a good landlord. 

#2 What are most student tenants looking for when they say they want a “good landlord”?

To students, a good landlord is someone who:

  o     Follows the law (eg. Human Rights Code and Residential Tenancies Act)

  o     Offers affordable rental rates

  o     Repairs and maintains the property as required, in a timely manner 

 #3 What is the most common complaint from U of T students about off-campus landlords?

The most common complaint is landlords not repairing and/or maintaining the property in a timely manner.

The issues brought forward include everything from appliance and plumbing issues to pests and fire/water damage.

#4 Is it a good idea for a landlord to get involved in student tenant vs. student  tenant issues?

We recommend landlords follow the RTA and/or get advice on tenant vs. tenant issues from the Landlord Self-Help Centre and/or the Landlord and Tenant Board.

#5  How can a landlord improve a property to make it more “user friendly” for students?

Based on feedback we receive, the most appealing features are:

 o     Have utilities included in the rental rate (utilities can be quite intimidating to a student,  especially if international)

 o     Bright space/windows

 o     If shared accommodation, should have locks on the bedroom doors

 o     If private, a separate entrance

 o     Bike storage

 o     Pet-friendly

#6  Any tips on how a private landlord can communicate and cooperate with   university housing? (As not all housing services are as cool as the U of T one)

Yes – and thank you! Landlords can visit http://housing.utoronto.ca/Landlords.htm to learn more about our service, subscribe to our bi-annual LandlordNews newsletter, and to register/place an ad.

We are also available via phone 416-978-8045 and email (housing.services@utoronto.ca) during regular office hours to answer questions.

Let other landlords know about our service. 

#7  We hear student tenants are more and more concerned about safety. How can a private off-campus landlord accommodate that? Are things like security cameras a good idea or will student thinks it’s too invasive?

Things such as alarm systems, security cameras (more common in apartment buildings), bolt-locks (rather than doorknob locks), window locks, and good outdoor lighting (eg. motion-sensored) are some ways a landlord can make their property feel safer.

#8 Many of our landlord members are hands-on and not absentee landlords. Do students like landlords who come and do regular safety inspections (with proper notice) or do they prefer landlords stay away?

I think this depends on how often, how much notice is given, and how invasive the inspection is. No tenant, including students, want their landlord entering their room/unit all the time. I believe, however, safety inspections are typically done on an annual basis (unless there is adequate reason for another). In which case, with proper notice, I wouldn’t see that being a problem. This is based on the individual’s preference.  

#9 Should landlords encourage tenants to get insurance?

Yes. We also encourage students to get tenant’s insurance.

#10 Where can landlords who rent to students learn more to become better landlords and have better relations with their student tenants?

U of T Housing Services is a great place to start!

Where Is a Good Place To Invest In Student Rental Properties?

There are a lot of good colleges and universities in Ontario.

For example, Toronto landlords have, as our OLA member wrote, three universities and numerous colleges in the city.

Ottawa landlords have a market of students going to the University of Ottawa and Carleton. 

Hamilton landlords often rent properties out to students at McMaster University.

We will discuss this more thoroughly in future blogs.

Landlords – Is Renting to Students Right For you?

To Discuss This and Other Landlord Topics Welcome to the Ontario Landlords Forum