Landlords: Your Student Accommodation Checklist

Private Property South Africa
Cath Jenkin

Pivoting your investment property towards providing student accommodation could prove very lucrative. Here’s how to get it right.

Student living

Think back to your tertiary education years, and you might consider them the best years of your life. Filled with learning, new experiences, friends, and fun, living the student lifestyle is one that you remember with fondness. You remember the all-night cram sessions and camaraderie over late-night pizza. Now that you’re older, wiser, and have used your knowledge to invest in property, you’re considering creating that environment for our country’s future leaders.

Investing in student accommodation

Off-campus, privately-owned student accommodation is a huge attraction for students. Free of the on-campus rules and regulations, students are keen to start their student life with the right type of facilities at home. This type of property is always in demand, so if you’ve bought an investment property that’s situated close to a tertiary education facility, you could create a good source of income for yourself. Alternatively, if you’re considering taking the leap into being a landlord, here’s how to get it right.

Play by the rules

Before you make that purchase, or adapt your investment property towards student accommodation, make sure your property is correctly zoned and has adhered to the right regulations in terms of facilities too. Your ability to turn your investment property into student accommodation will also be affected by your neighbouring properties, so make sure there have been no objections to your plans. It’s also a good idea to speak to your nearby tertiary education institution’s student housing office, and enquire about getting listed on their student accommodation database. They can be a great resource for finding out more about their students’ needs.

Converting your property

Turning your property into the ultimate student home will take some work. You may need to add a bathrooms, sub-divide rooms, or extend your property. Before you start planning that funky mural, and installing a pool table, decide how many people your property will accommodate, and build accordingly. Overcrowding is all too common in student accommodation facilities, and could land you in trouble with the law, so don’t be tempted to take on more students that you can.

Read more: Prepping your property for rent

Insuring your property

Don’t forget: when you’re all set up and ready to welcome your first student tenants, you’ll need to update your property’s insurance policies. Chat to your financial advisor or insurance broker about your additional insurance needs.

See more: How to pick the right home insurance

Get your property student-ready

Location is a life essential when it comes to student accommodation. Make sure your property is situated along, or near to, public transport routes. If your investment property is a house, then creating common living areas, including a TV lounge, dining area, and perhaps a ‘chill spot’ is important. Make sure each room is equipped with at least one desk per student, and allows for everyone to enjoy some quiet time when they need to study. Of course, it’s 2019, and none of us could survive without WiFi. Invest in the highest speed internet connection you can, and ensure your network can easily sustain your residents’ needs.

The bonus features

Turning your investment property into the ultimate student abode will mean adding in a few bonus features. If it’s possible for you to add in selected extras, you will be able to demand a higher rental amount from your tenants. Consider adding in-house catering facilities, a swimming pool, or other recreational facilities, if you can.

Keeping an eye on things

As a landlord, you are legally responsible for maintaining the property, and ensuring that all rules and regulations are adhered to by your student tenants. Respond to their enquiries promptly, and deal with complaints as quickly as possible. Don’t forget to conduct regular property inspections, once you’ve arranged a convenient time and date for your tenants.

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