How to Cater to New Student Tenants

By Kaitlin Hurtado on October 4, 2023

Any property manager or landlord with experience can understand how the population they are renting to can impact how they run their property. Properties aren’t always going to appeal to every single type of renter – what a single-family household is looking for is likely going to be different than what a group of college student roommates is looking for. If you are managing a property that is near a college campus, you likely have a larger population of college students to rent to. In order to keep vacancies low in a competitive market, you may be looking at different ways to attract new student tenants to your rental property.

Photo: Pexels

Be more flexible with leases

College students are not your typical renters. They likely do not have roots in a single place, whether it be due to spending a longer amount of time back home or traveling, or having intentions to study abroad for a semester or two. The typical 12-month lease may not be appealing to them if they plan on not being in the area for an extended period of time, such as spending the summer months back home or spending months studying abroad.

In order to cater to new student tenants, consider offering more flexible lease terms, such as varied lease terms. Offering shorter lease terms, such as six months or nine months, can allow students to rent during the school year or a single semester without having to worry about finding a sublet or paying to break the lease if they need to move out early.

On top of offering varied lease lengths, you may consider being more lenient when allowing sublets. If college students plan to not stay during the entirety of their lease for whatever reason, they may want to sublet their apartment in order to minimize financial loss for rent they still need to pay while away. While many properties prohibit any sublet situation, you may want to incorporate it into your lease agreements to give student renters more peace of mind.

Consider offering furnished units 

It’s no secret that many college students operate on a tight budget during their college experience. For many, it’s their first time moving out on their own, or their first time living off-campus. Most dorms come completely furnished, so students moving into off-campus apartments may have little to no furniture with them. Furnishing apartments can be a big hit to their already tight budgets, so offering furnished units may help attract new student renters.

If college students are looking at short-term rentals, or already expecting to have to move again after their lease expires, eliminating the hassle and cost of furnishing a new apartment can help

Offer incentives to new tenants

Everyone loves a good deal, and everyone especially loves something free. The same thing can apply to college students who are looking to score on a deal any way they can. If you are struggling to attract student tenants, consider offering incentives to new tenants.

These incentives can be offered in a variety of ways. You can consider offering discounted rent or a security deposit, to completely waive the first month’s rent or their security deposit/application fee if they sign a lease within a certain time frame.

Similarly, you can offer gift cards and vouchers to places you know they would use such as Amazon, Visa, movie theaters, and so on. If college students are struggling to differentiate between local rental properties, offering an incentive to new tenants can help your rental property stand out among the rest.

Use your existing student renter population to your advantage. For example, if your current tenant refers a friend or classmate to apply to your property, offer an incentive to the tenant and prospective tenant for any successful referrals. Doing something like this can help cut out some of the legwork of actively advertising to college students when word-of-mouth can help do the work for you.

Highly student-friendly aspects of your rental property

College students are likely looking for a place that fits their current college student lifestyle. As a property manager, it is important to highlight any features that are more student-friendly.

This can include on-site study lounges with ample seating and Wi-Fi. If students can find a solid study spot without straying far from their living arrangements, it’s definitely a plus.

If your property sits close to public transportation routes or even better, campus-owned transportation routes, be sure to advertise it to possible student renters. For students without cars, getting to campus can be a big worry if they are not comfortable walking distance to campus. Having a reliable shuttle to and from campus can be a major advantage when it comes to student renters.

With these tips in mind, you can better cater to new student renters.

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