Towergate Insurance commissioned and analysed a survey of 500 students in the UK in January 2019.
The findings showed the type of property and location students would favour and the method they would choose to communicate with their landlord or letting agent.
The results of the survey will enable those contemplating buy-to-let and landlords to buy or refurbish suitable property for student tenants.
- Students rate highly large bedrooms, living rooms and high-speed broadband
- Students prefer to communicate directly with landlords by email
- Accommodation near a supermarket is a must for students.
Students have very precise requirements as to the kind of property they wish to rent. 68% would prefer to continue living in the same property during their time at university. This points to a need for landlords to forge good relationships with their tenants and encourage contract renewals. And possibly offer reduced rates or short leases during the summer holidays.
Sharing accommodation is a common feature of university life which enables undergraduates to save money and make friends. The research found that 52% of students live in homes with four or more tenants, preferring communal living to living alone.
Students value large bedrooms most highly. They also rate living rooms and en-suite bathrooms. And it is no surprise that fast broadband is a number one priority, given their need to study and desire for entertainment during downtime.
While the cost of renting a room varies across the UK, on average a student pays between £300 and £499 per month. As may be expected, rents are higher in London – 36% of students pay a minimum of £500 per month, compared to 20% in the West Midlands. At the top end, just 4% of students in the UK pay more than £700 per month.
One interesting finding was that most students would be willing to pay more if a cleaning service were provided by the landlord.
Communication between student and landlord
Student life represents a transition from family life to independence. The first step for many who have never lived away from home. The survey found that 38% of students did not know how to programme a boiler and had to ask for help from their landlord. As such, it would be beneficial for students if the landlord could induct the tenant into the property at the start of the tenancy.
The tendency for landlords to use agencies to manage both property and tenant relationships illustrates the fact that one in four students has no direct contact with their landlord.
Nonetheless, 62% of students would prefer to deal directly with their landlord rather than an agency. 73% of students say that their biggest complaint is having a landlord who is slow to respond and fails to deal with issues promptly.
The survey results show that for most students the deciding factor in choosing a location is proximity to a supermarket rather than to bars and restaurants.
Fewer students expect to live near their university. In fact, fewer than half of all students are able to commute to their campus within 15 minutes.
The survey results highlight the fact that university is a transition period for young people. Letting a property to them may require a more proactive, ‘hands-on’ approach on the part of the landlord.
Landlords can make a success of their tenancy businesses by getting to know what students really want from rented accommodation.