Although over recent weeks, it has been reported that some of these blocks are considering a change of use as demand has fallen, what they have done is increase expectations of students and other tenants of the service they will receive when renting a property. This generation will probably be renting for a large proportion of their adult life as it becomes increasingly difficult to get onto the property ladder. As landlords, this is a great opportunity for you to secure tenants before others and ensure that your property doesn't suffer from any void periods.
As a letting agent that has worked with students and young renters for 20 years, we have certainly seen a change in attitudes and expectations and we wanted to share with you a couple of tips and some advice on what renters are now looking for.
1) Open plan communal areas
Staying in is the new going out. People can't afford to socialise outside the house as they used to, so having large open plan communal areas is at the top of the wishlist when looking for a home. If there is a way to create an open and bright living area, then this should be something to consider when you are looking at improvements to your investment. Also consider a cleaner for communal areas, this is a big selling point amongst tenants!
2) Keep outside spaces low maintenance and tidy
As soon as the sun comes out, everyone wants to be outside enjoying the weather and having a BBQ with friends. As with the inside space, the outside space is becoming increasingly important as an area to socialise with friends. Make sure the garden or outside space is well maintained and provide seating if possible.
3) Make sure furniture is modern, matching and in a good state of repair
Gone are the days where you could put a variety of second hand, mis-matched pieces of furniture in a rental property. Renters today expect furniture to look like a similar standard that they would have at their parents home. It doesn't have to cost the earth, IKEA is perfectly fine, but have a look at what is in your property and ask yourself whether you would use it. If the answer is 'no' then the chances are it could be putting off potential renters.
4) Make sure the basics are covered and add a few 'extras' to give it the wow factor
'Basic' in terms of what renters are looking for, has changed considerably. It used to be that a bed, sofa and table and chairs would cover it, now people are expecting much more. Things that are most requested are mirrors for bedrooms and bathrooms, shelves for bedrooms and extra storage space. There are also a few items that add the 'wow' factor to a property such as wall mounted TV's, en-suite bathrooms, Dishwashers and Washer Dryers. The washer dryer, although expensive could be a good option as it would decrease mould and damp from clothes not being aired properly during the winter months.
5) Make life simple for tenants
Tenants want a hassle free life and are used to parents sorting out all of the 'boring' things like utility bills. Consider offering all bills such as utilities and broadband included within the rental price. People will often pay more for this to be administered by someone else.
We know there is an increasing burden put on Landlords and we are in no way suggesting that you need to do all of these things. But, if you are finding your property isn't renting as quickly as before, have a look at it with a fresh pair of eyes and see if a few basic improvements would make it more attractive to potential tenants. Also have a look at http://www.crm-students.com/crm-accommodation/cardiff/lumis-student-living-cardiff/ or scroll to the bottom of the email to see the style now expected from the student market. And remember, the higher the perceived standard of the property, the higher the rent that people are willing to pay. So a little investments now, could bring much larger benefits long term.
If you would like a visit from us to talk through how you could improve your property further, please email email@example.com or phone 02920 640200 and press option 2.