Landlords must 'meet student tenants before signing contract'

by Sarah Ashcroft

The letting process can be a complicated one for landlords dealing with new tenants and this is especially true when working with students.

Therefore, before signing on the dotted line, managing director of Total Landlord Insurance Eddie Hooker recommends that property owners meet with the potential members of the household.

Landlords who go through an agent, the expert explained, will coordinate such a gathering as part of the process of arranging student lettings, but solo operators are recommended to plan this rendezvous themselves, so they can make sure they know just what sort of individuals are renting their house or flat.

In addition to meeting these young persons to see what kinds of individuals they are, it is important to ascertain who tenants' respective guarantors are, so in the event the bills are not being paid or the rent is behind, the landlord knows who to get in touch with.

For students, the guarantor is usually a parent and so they are the people the property owner is to turn to if there are any issues with deposits at the end of the tenancy or other matters.

Most landlords will have a joint tenancy agreement in place in these instances, because in the case of students, there tends to be around four or five people sharing the same dwelling.

Mr Hooker suggested landlords who are not in the area go through a good letting agent to ensure distance between the property owner and the tenants do not cause problems if matters arise with regards to the dwelling or the financial obligations of the residents.

This service tends to cost around 15 per cent plus VAT of annual rent and those with more than one abode can negotiate a discount on fees with the agency, with most coming down to around 12 per cent in this instance.

Property owners should also consider credit control by screening their tenants before they move in.

Setting a regular date for rent collection is essential and ensuring rent arrears do not build is of vital importance.

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Published on: September 14, 2012

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