13 Ways to Be a Great Landlord to College Student Renters

By Christine Ascher on January 19, 2018

For a landlord, college student renters present a unique demographic that may have different needs and expectations than your typical renters. When you’re managing property in a college area, the best way to make yourself stand out is by specifically targeting your property to students. By taking the time to think about what college student renters will want in their housing and from their landlord, you can make yourself into the ideal college landlord—and build up a great reputation that will help you continue to bring in residents year after year.

1. Know What Students Are Looking ForLandlord, qualities, tips, college renters

When you’re considering the adjustments that need to be done to your property or are looking for good ways to market it for the new academic year, keep in mind what college student renters specifically are looking for, rather than what renters in general tend to expect. Because the needs of college student renters may vary from older professionals, make sure that you take into consideration what areas of the property you should be focusing on and highlighting.

For instance, college student renters will probably be more interested in paying less in rent than in having the most modern, updated appliances, so avoid making updates that could be perceived as unnecessary. Instead, focus on providing your residents with clean, safe units for an affordable price.  According to Sarah Nairn from Landlordology, affordability is one of the top five most important amenities to consider when renting to college students.

2. Make Your Property Conducive to Studying

When the target audience for your property consists of college student renters, it’s a good idea to use what you know about students to your advantage, making the property as conducive as possible to that demographic. For instance, try to create some nice, quiet study spaces that your students can use, so that they don’t need to leave the property when they’re looking for a good place to have a study session.

Conversely, you can also make yourself stand out as a landlord to college student renters by creating fun spaces for your residents to hang out with their friends. Whether it’s an outdoor pool or garden space, or an indoor game or movie room, your residents will love that they have a cool place to spend time in outside of their actual apartment. Plus, by encouraging your residents to bring their friends to the property, you’ll be getting some free advertising that will hopefully lead to new residents in the new school year.

3. Be Patient

Because a lot of college student renters are likely renting for the first time, chances are they’ll be fairly unfamiliar with the details of lease agreements, the leasing process, setting up utilities, and everything else that comes with renting an apartment. One way to stand out as a great landlord to your residents is by taking the extra time to explain to them everything that they need to know and by ensuring that they understand what they’re agreeing to when they sign their lease and what they’ll need to do as a resident before they fully commit.

Understand that they may have a lot of questions, and be patient in answering them. Make sure that you clarify when rent is due, the dates for when your property’s leases start and end, whether or not utilities are included in the rent, and any important policies that you have in place. The more detailed you are in your explanations, the better off your residents will be when they move in.

4. Host Events with Free Food

It’s fairly common knowledge that most college students are short on cash. Fortunately for you, this means that you can gain a lot of points as a landlord simply by hosting events every so often where you offer freebies—and, in particular, (considering most college student renters are less-than-stellar cooks) free food. Try hosting some get-to-know-you events throughout the semester, for instance, in which you incentivize students to come by making it a pizza party or a barbeque.

You can also appeal to your college student renters by hosting some special events during midterms and finals; since these are probably the busiest times of the year for your students, you can save them both some money and some precious study time by providing a meal that they won’t have to make themselves.

5. Offer Freebies to Your Students

Similarly, you can also help your college student renters out by giving out some freebies from time to time. During peak study times, for instance towards the middle and the end of the semester, try to offer free coffee or snacks to students, as well as items that students will need for their exams, such as Scantron sheets or Blue Books.

Even these small and relatively inexpensive items will be appreciated by students, as you’ll save them a trip to the campus bookstore and will make it easier for them to study from the comfort of their own apartments.

Calendar, date, circle, month

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6. Keep the Academic Calendar in Mind

While this may seem like a given, considering the majority of your residents are college student renters, it’s nevertheless important to make sure that your property’s leasing calendar coincides with their university’s academic calendar as much as possible.

Typically, it’s a good idea to begin your leases at some point in August, a couple of weeks before school starts, as this will give students plenty of time to get settled in before school starts. This will also give students who have graduated some extra time at the end of the spring semester before they need to move, so they don’t feel overwhelmed having to leave right away.

7. Send Lots of Reminders for Important Dates

Because your property is targeted towards college student renters, you’ll likely have quite a few residents who have never rented an apartment before. Keep this in mind, as it means that you may have to go to some extra lengths to ensure that everything runs smoothly. For instance, some of your residents may be unaccustomed to paying rent every month, and may, therefore, be more liable to forget their rental payments. It’ll help them a lot—and, by extension, save you some trouble in the long-run—if you send out monthly reminders for when rent is due and restate how students can pay it.

You may also want to send the occasional reminder concerning other important dates that your students should be aware of, such as move-in and move-out dates, or any days when you may need to enter their apartment for maintenance or inspections. Given their likely busy schedules and their recent entrance into the renting field, your college student renters may not always remember what they need to do and when, so you’ll be doing everyone a favor by doing what you can make sure they know when important dates are coming up.

8. Apply Feedback

Regardless of where your property is located and what type of demographic you want to draw in, one important factor of being a landlord that always applies is constantly maintaining and improving your property. One great way to prioritize what improvements you should be making is by asking your college student renters for feedback and going from there. Your residents will be glad to see that you’ve listened to what they had to say, and you’ll know that your spending money on improvements that actually will be appreciated.

Try sending out a survey to all of your college student renters towards the end of the leasing year to give them the opportunity to voice their opinions concerning what they would like to see changed. Make sure you ask both about any changes they would be interested in seeing to the property itself and also in terms of the way you run the property. In listening to what your current residents have to say, you can become an even better landlord and make your property even more desirable.

9. Listen to Your Residents’ Concerns

Just as you would want to pay attention to the feedback that you receive from your college student renters when it’s solicited, it’s also essential to listen to their concerns, even when they come in the form of complaints. One of the worst mistakes that you can make as a landlord is to ignore the worries or complaints of your residents; even if they bring up an issue that you’re powerless to solve, make sure that you let your residents know that you understand their concern and that you recognize why they feel the way they do.

Often, even if you can’t remedy their situation, your college student renters will appreciate the fact that you’re truly listening to them and that you really seem to care. And, as Christine Cieri states in an article for Rentalutions, “when your tenants like you as a person they are much more willing to respect you and your property as a landlord!”

10. Respond Quickly

In addition to listening to your college student renters, the time span in which you address problems is also key. If you take too long to respond to your residents when they have questions or to fix problems that arise with individual units or the property’s shared spaces, that will reflect back negatively on you as a landlord. If, on the other hand, you respond quickly and efficiently to questions and concerns, your college student renters will recognize that and will appreciate your effort.

Managing your time effectively in this way will also help you keep on top of everything that you need to do as a landlord, and prevent you from getting behind or becoming overwhelmed. The best way to keep everything running smoothly is to respond as soon as you can to unexpected issues that arise—and if you come across an issue that might take some time to fix, let your residents know that you’re aware of the problem and are doing everything that you can to remedy it. They’ll appreciate that you’re making an effort, as well as the fact that you’re keeping them in the loop.

11. Help Your Residents Sublet

In any college area, you’re likely to have students who only want to rent for a short amount of time, or residents who sign a year-long lease with you, but later find that they need to sublet. With students going home for the summer or studying abroad, chances are you’ll often have residents who want to sublet their apartments for a few months; you may also find that there’s a similar market in place for students who are looking for a place to stay for the summer or just for one semester.

In addition to making the subletting process as smooth and simple as possible, you can really go above and beyond as a landlord by helping your college student renters find subtenants for their spaces. This doesn’t mean that you should feel obligated to facilitate the entire process—you can make a huge difference just by setting up a Facebook page for your property that allows students to post their spaces when they need to sublet, and other students to check the page out if they’re looking for a place to stay. You can also encourage residents to let you know early on if they’re planning to sublet and when, so that if you receive any interest in the property for the short-term, you can put them in touch.

Ticket, Raffle, Admission

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12. Offer Thoughtful Deals

Given that most college students are on a budget, they’ll be extra susceptible deals and promotions that you offer from time to time. While the deals that you offer will, of course, depend on what you can afford, your college student renters will appreciate any way that you can save them some money. If you can, try offering a reduced rental rate for those who sign a lease within a certain amount of time.

You can also save your residents some money by offering free parking or a lower rate for parking if they sign their lease early or decide to renew. Another great deal to offer your residents that will be mutually beneficial is by giving them a rent reduction, whether for one month or for the entire duration of their lease, if they recommend a friend who ends up deciding to sign a lease. You’ll bring in new residents, and your current residents will appreciate that you were cognizant of their finances and gave them the chance to save some money.

13. Giveaways

Another way to win some points with your college student renters is by having a giveaway periodically, to give your residents the chance to win something that they may want or need. If you host a building event, take the opportunity to hold a raffle and give out an item that college students will appreciate—a coffee maker or a printer, for instance, are always crowd-pleasers.

Even if you don’t have any events coming up, you can always hold a giveaway by asking your residents to like your property’s Facebook page or offer the chance for them to win if they respond to a survey that you send out. Most likely, your college student renters will jump at the chance to win some free stuff, and this will reflect back positively on you as a landlord.

While being a landlord in itself involves a lot of work, in order to make yourself stand out it’s important to go above and beyond for your residents, even when—and sometimes, especially when—they’re college student renters. Keep in mind the demographic that your property is targeted towards, and make sure that you’re serving it wisely.

By Christine Ascher

Uloop Writer
Hi! I'm Christine and I'm currently a senior at the University of Southern California, where I study English Literature, Economics, and French.

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