How to safeguard your student rental property

Private Property South Africa

Student rental properties are the type of investment that need to be protected against various risks.

Considering the high demand for student accommodation, renting to students is one of the higher return investment opportunities within real estate. However, along with the high returns comes the risk of property neglect and damage. Most students prioritize campus proximity and fast Wi-Fi when looking for a place to stay. Often lower on their list of priorities is the state of the property itself. As a result, to avoid damage, it is recommended that landlords implement certain safeguards as a protective measure for their investment.

“Renting to students offers a low-risk option regarding prolonged vacancies and higher returns on the investment as a result of the high demand. However, landlords should remain cautious and remember that all purchases come with certain risks. Some of these include short-notice lease terminations and the possibility for neglect and damage to the property,” explains Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett.

Implementing safe guards

Landlords who do not implement safeguards may end up spending more on fixing the property, Goslett warns. “It is advisable that landlords consider getting a cleaner to come in once a month or so to ensure that the property does not become unmanageable,” explains Goslett.

Alternatively, landlords could go so far as to hire a house manager whose sole responsibility would be to check up on the property from time-to-time and offer assistance to the tenants as a sure way to keep the property in order.

Beyond this, the potential tenant needs to understand the lease agreement and the damage deposit. “It is important to make sure both the student and their parent/guardian (if they are the ones paying the rent) have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and how the damage deposit works. This deposit exists as an attempt to emphasise the importance of maintaining the property. Creating a set of house rules that must be adhered to by the tenant(s) to go alongside the lease agreement will also prove helpful in safeguarding against possible damages,” Goslett suggests.

Property inspections are essential

Goslett further advises that landlords should arrange an inspection before the tenant moves in. “Ensure that a detailed checklist is created, and images have been taken of the property as something to refer to once it becomes time for the tenant to move out. This way you’ll be able to accurately compare the condition of the house from start to end of the tenants’ lease.”

As a final piece of advice, Goslett encourages landlords to be meticulous when drafting the lease agreement for student rentals. “The lease needs to be specific when stipulating the expectations for property maintenance from the tenants’ side. It is therefore advisable that landlords use an experienced rental agent who can draft the lease to ensure that all the necessary safeguards are in place when renting to students, as to protect their investment,” Goslett concludes.

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