With so many students attending college and university in the UK each year, with the figure rising, there is a prominent demand for student accommodation. There is no denying that letting to students can be lucrative, but it is also a challenging activity.
If you are considering becoming a student landlord, it is crucial you understand you have a duty of care to your tenants. Remember that many students living in student accommodation have left home for the first time. Your tenants will likely be young, they may be vulnerable, and there is a chance that some, or many, will act irresponsibly. As a landlord, you need to protect your tenants, your property and yourself. Knowing the legal obligation of a student landlord is essential if you want to be a successful student landlord.
Some of the critical areas of regulations and law you need to consider include taxation, health and safety and laws relating to House of Multiple Occupancy, or HMO.
HMO regulations changed in October of 2018. Any property that lets to a minimum of five people from at least two separate households is recognised as an HMO. There are also requirements for landlords to provide bedrooms of a minimum size and to offer appropriate refuse facilities for the property.
Make sure your student accommodation is habitable
Given these regulations impact on who landlords can let to, and the condition of the house, it is crucial that landlords are aware of these changes. The introduction of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act is another matter that landlords need to consider. It is now possible for tenants to sue landlords if the standard of rental accommodation isn’t suitable for people. This regulation applies to student landlords, so it is an area that affects landlords in this sector.
When it comes to health and safety procedures, it is often best to turn to qualified professionals to test your rental accommodation. Concerning smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, gas appliances and even a fire risk assessment, the peace of mind that comes from hiring a qualified professional is essential.
If the property is wholly or part-furnished, as many student lets are, make sure that all provided appliances comply with the latest fire-resistant standards.
Check the energy efficiency of your student accommodation
Student landlords need to have an EPC, and as of April 2018, rental properties need to hold an EPC rating of at least an E. Be sure to hire a professional to review your property, but once you obtain your certificate, it remains valid for ten years.
Another area that landlords need to consider is council tax. Students are exempt from paying council tax, but you should be able to prove that all your tenants are currently studying. If you cannot show this, you may find yourself liable for council tax at your rental property.
All landlords need to ensure they have adequate insurance in place, and student landlords are no different. Standard home insurance isn’t appropriate when letting property, and you may wish to choose specialist student letting insurance to provide you with additional coverage. If your rental property suffers accidental or malicious damage or even a non-payment of rent, the right standard of insurance protects you.
Letting to students in Coventry is a viable opportunity for many investors and landlords, but you need to ensure you provide a high standard of service. If you require assistance in letting to students, contact Student Circle, and we’ll be happy to help.