PROPERTY NEWS - 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 prioritise 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. Therefore, 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," says regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett.
"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 of neglect and damage to the property."
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," he suggests.
Alternatively, landlords could 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, or whoever is responsible for paying the rent, have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and how the damage deposit works. This deposit is 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.
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 when the tenant moves out. This way you'll be able to accurately compare the condition of the house from the start to the end of the tenant's lease."
Finally, 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 tenant's 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, to protect their investment."
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