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Landlords: Getting it right for students

19th May 2010 Print

With 88 per cent of University students (1,180,185*) currently living in privately rented accommodation, there is a huge audience for student landlords to capitalise on. The days of roughing it in ‘digs’ are long gone, so it is important for landlords to understand what turns students on in terms of housing, if they are to secure tenants.

A recent survey of over 1,100 students by leading online student accommodation finding service,, reveals that students rank big bedrooms and kitchens with ample surface space at the top of their wish list. Buy-to-let landlords wanting speedy signings should take note of the results when embarking on their property hunt.

Aside from space, students want to live close to the University Campus. 36 per cent of those surveyed confirmed that this is ‘crucial’ while not far behind on the credentials is cheap rent. Almost a third (27 per cent) insist that cost is a deal breaker as money is so tight for them.

When it comes down to it they love living with their friends, as over half of those surveyed (53%) stated this as their favourite thing about their shared private accommodation.

Simon Thompson, MD of UK leading student accommodation finding service, comments: “Most students are living away from home for the first time and so sharing with their friends is a real buzz. Properties that sleep three or more students tend to be the most popular across the UK for this reason, but there is still a place for two bed flats as some, often older, students prefer to live with a partner.”

Students want affordable rent, but are not prepared to compromise on style and substance. The results reveal that today’s students expect ‘decent’ homes for less, with 62 per cent admitting they are ‘extremely picky’ while house hunting.

When it comes to what they dislike about their Uni homes, the kitchen is the biggest offender (26%), closely followed by disastrous decor (25%), below par bedroom size (24%) and limp living rooms, which 21% of students would like to change.

Buy-to-let landlords championing the market offer students ample kitchen surface space so they can prepare their own meals cheaply and have modern décor throughout. Using paint instead of wallpaper is the simple solution when it comes to getting the 21st century vibe and garish patterned carpets should be ripped up to entice youngsters. According to the survey, big bedrooms with double beds are favourable to child-like single rooms and a neutral colour palette always comes out on top.

Simon Thompson comments: “As attitudes are always evolving it’s important to speak to students to establish what they want from their housing. To let their properties efficiently year after year, landlords must keep up with student demand, which will help those landlords looking to expand their property portfolios. We are frequently in touch with our database of over 435,000 students, so are in an enviable position that allows us to inform landlords of what features let well.”

Student landlords who want to let properties easily should choose well-situated properties that have space for three to five students, as living with friends is high on the wish list. Sharing also keeps the cost of bills down, which is always popular with cash-poor undergraduates. Double bedrooms and large kitchens are most desirable while modern décor is advantageous. To tempt students and keep profits healthy, landlords should listen and adhere to the student voice.