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.