Back-to-school season is fast approaching, which means an influx of lease turnovers and students looking for somewhere to live.
For landlords, this typically ushers in worries of losing tenants and having to quickly find and sign new ones. But what often gets ignored during this time of year is the incredible potential for landlords, especially with the right preparation.
With that said, keep reading to learn how to capitalize on the back-to-school market, deal with the challenges that come with it, and maximize profits.
6 ways to thrive in the back-to-school rental market
Define the perfect tenant
If your property is even remotely near a university or college campus, expect a flood of applications the second you put it on the market.
Speed is the name of the game with back-to-school leases. The more you know what you want, and the faster you can determine an applicant’s eligibility and make a decision, the better you’ll make the process for both you and the applicant.
If they’re a fit, you can let them know before they have a chance to look elsewhere; if they’re not a fit, you can let them know right away and not waste their time and chances of finding a place elsewhere.
For help quickly (and legally) qualifying applicants—and attracting qualified tenants in the first place—check out our Canadian tenant screening checklist.
Prepare your place to impress
Like with any lease turnover, it’s important to inspect your property, take stock of what needs to be changed or updated, and make sure it’s ready for the next tenant—and not just because it’s standard procedure.
You may be a student’s first rental experience, which is already scary enough. Having your place looking clean, maintained, and up-to-code can make the process less scary and make them more likely to go with your place.
Plus, it’s often not just students you have to impress; students will likely be accompanied by family, friends, or someone else they’ll be turning to for thoughts after your viewing—often holding higher standards. If your place doesn’t get the nod from these people too, that student will likely be looking elsewhere.
Financially speaking, this is also the perfect time to look at how you’re priced compared to the market. Market conditions may have changed significantly since signing your last tenant, and not adjusting your rent price accordingly (within legal bounds) is leaving money on the table.
In the same vein, be prepared to find the opposite; you may now be priced too high and have to lower rent to stay competitive for your area and target audience.
Get your property on the market as quickly as possible
Competition is stiff during back-to-school months. Yes, there are many people looking for rentals, but there are also often many landlords catering to these people.
One way to get students to choose you is wasting no time getting your property back on the market once you know a lease is finishing. Any second longer you wait is a second that a student can choose to rent from someone else.
Sign up for Rhenti’s automated lead-to-lease software to get back on the market and in front of qualified tenants as quickly as possible.
Make your listing attractive to students
If it’s your first time catering to the back-to-school rental market (or you’ve been out of the game for a while), look at your rental listing to see how attractive it is to students—especially the title, description, and imagery.
Keep in mind that there are many different kinds of students, so it’s important to do your research to understand what kinds make up your audience.
Based on what kind of school you’re close to, do you expect younger people right out of high school to apply, or those continuing education later in life, perhaps with accompanying family members? Or maybe predominately international students?
If you’re dealing with post-high-school students, you may want to emphasize closeness to nightlife or restaurants; for international students with accompanying family, closeness to daycare or ESL centers.
More generally, you might want to highlight the following features and amenities for students:
- In-house or close-by laundry
- Wifi deals
- Walking distance to campus or campus-related facilities
- Nearby cafes
- Streaming service packages
- Furnished units
- Parking spots or discounted parking lots
For more help, read our article on creating the perfect rental listing.
Consider requiring a co-signer or guarantor
Depending on the kinds of students you’re renting to, they may not yet have a credit score, or not have had it for long enough to earn an ideal score.
In cases like these, and others where credit or steady income is a concern, requiring your tenants to have a co-signer or guarantor is useful.
It is true that a guarantor gives you a backup if your tenant can’t make rent. But more importantly, a guarantor adds an extra level of accountability to your tenant.
Now, rather than being accountable to just you, the landlord, your tenant is also accountable to someone close to them, often a parent or family member, which can make them more motivated to be a reliable, problem-free tenant.
Set your tenants up to succeed
The nervousness of renting as a student doesn’t end after the lease is signed; in fact, it’s after this point that most of it starts.
Do any of these inner thoughts sound familiar?
- When do I take the trash?
- Where do I keep my food in the fridge?
- Are there quiet hours?
- If something breaks, who do I call?
Not knowing the answers to these types of questions is often what causes so much anxiety and confusion for renting students, confusion that can manifest into problems around the house after they move in.
By making sure that tenants understand their responsibilities around the house before they move in (i.e. stating it in the lease, leaving notes around the house, etc.), you make the process easier and less problematic for everyone.
For help with understanding who’s responsible for what, here’s a guide for property owners in Canada by province.
Rent easier with Rhenti
Hopefully, with these tips and tools in mind, back-to-school season now sparks feelings of opportunity instead of stress and worry.
For even more help attracting and signing high-quality applicants—students and otherwise—sign up for Rhenti’s automated lead-to-lease software today.