Renting to College Students: Risks vs Benefits

According to the College Board, just under half of all college students live off campus. This means hundreds to thousands of potential tenants looking for a place to live in the vicinity of each school. The stereotypes of renting to college students are well known– they’re untrustworthy, loud, and don’t take care of the property. But if you take the proper steps to protect yourself in advance, there’s no reason renting to college students can’t be a beneficial and even lucrative business move.

College Student Renters: Pros and Cons

We’ll start with the potential downside of renting to college students, since that’s a list no one has trouble making. Traditional-aged college students are young, so they have little to no credit history to indicate if they’re good tenants. They’re only in school for a few years, so the turnover is high. They tend to be inexperienced renters who don’t know how to take care of a property. And they tend to be loud, stay up late, and sometimes throw parties or host long-term guests.

However, there are some definite upsides to college students as tenants as well. If your property is convenient to campus, it will be in high demand, so you shouldn’t have trouble keeping your units occupied. Students don’t need much in the way of marketing to pique their interests; a few posts on Instagram or Facebook Marketplace should do the trick. And while they themselves may not have much credit history, often their parents will pay the rent– sometimes even a semester or a year at a time.

How To Protect Your Property

There are a few easy steps you can take to protect yourself from the potential pitfalls of renting to college students while taking advantage of the benefits. Here are a few we recommend.

  1. Have a comprehensive lease. Tailor your language to the student experience– include clauses on noise and parties, place limits on maximum occupancy in the building, and be clear about who’s responsible for repairs caused by damages to the property. It’s also smart to rent “by the bed”– draw up separate leases for each tenant so that even if one roommate breaks the lease, the others can stay.
  2. Add a safety net. The two main ways to do this are to require a co-signer to the lease or to increase the security deposit required to move in. Requiring an adult (who presumably has a lengthier credit score than an 18-year-old) to co-sign the lease helps lower your risk of a bad experience. This may be preferable to asking for a higher security deposit, which can be a deterrent to tenants (and their parents) who may not want to pay more up front.
  3. Cover your costs up front. The utilities on your property need to get paid, whether you have tenants or not. Keeping the heat and electricity in your name and rolling those costs over into the monthly rent will protect you from covering utility payments that were supposed to be your tenants’ responsibility. If you have a security system or want your tenants all to use the same Wi-Fi provider, those are also costs (and amenities!) that can be built into your rental rate.

A general tip for renting to students is that old adage, you get what you pay for. Don’t assume students will have low expectations when it comes to renting. They’ll be looking for a safe spot to live that offers convenience and comfort– and today more than ever, young people care about where they spend their money and the values of the businesses they support. Being present, responding to their questions and needs, scheduling prompt repairs, and keeping the building in good condition will set the bar high and encourage them to treat the place with the same respect you do.

How All County Denver South Can Help

All County Denver South Property Management is here to help property owners get the best return on their investment through knowledgeable and trustworthy property management services. From managing tenant relationships to lease enforcement, we look forward to working with you to see how your investment can be a long-term, stress-free asset. For a complimentary quote, call us today at (720) 664-4550.

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