Friday, September 4, 2009

Students as Tenants

As property managers we must always consider tenant profile when deciding whether to approve a potential applicant as well as when considering a new property owner as a client. Recently, having procured a client with an apartment building in a student-rich locale, we decided to summarize some positive and not-so positive aspects of renting to students.

The most important factor in selecting tenants is of course their ability to meet their financial obligations and to pay their rent. Unless full-time students work part-time it is important to understand that the vast majority of students do not have the means to pay their rents. Thus it is critical (and a prerequisite for renting Kaur Property Management run buildings) that parents serve as co-signors and fully comprehend that they will be held legally and financially liable should their children default on the rent. It is advisable to have a separate agreement annexed to the lease that clearly explains this and that is signed by each tenant’s parent.

In cities with a large student population from outside the city and country, it is imperative that landlords or managers speak with the co-signors and briefly explain them the finer points of rental law in your province or state as they may be unfamiliar local laws.

Student tenants are not ones that allow owners much hands-off effort, that is to say, they can be quite a handful. They can be forgetful, extremely messy and sometimes, downright irresponsible. It is essential to complete a pre-move inspection with all student tenants to ensure that responsibility can be rightly placed should there be any damage beyond basic wear and tear. If your jurisdiction allows it, collecting a damage deposit would help mitigate any potential losses once they move out. Be certain that arrangements are made and clearly communicated when the students leave town for Christmas break or summer holidays. Often the fact that rent is payable on the first of the month gets neglected during the summer.

Although, not all students have behavior unbecoming of a good tenant, it is important to understand that the following scenarios are certainly within the realm of possibility. Young students, away from home for the first time may experience high alcohol consumption and perhaps even recreational drugs. We have managed buildings where the stench of marijuana it seemed was an every weekend occurrence. You can certainly insert clauses in your lease forbidding this behavior in the apartment but one must also understand that kids will be kids.