Agents and landlords are being warned that students expect increasingly high standards of accommodation including space, decor and fixtures and fittings.
The alert, from the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks, follows the news that 409,000 applicants were last year accepted to start higher education courses – a record number and three per cent up on the year before.
The rise follows the lifting of the cap on university places in England, meaning many colleges have increased their intake; many are now beginning to seek accommodation for courses starting at the end of the summer.
“Students now expect a good standard of décor and contents. Granny's second-hand furniture will no longer fit the bill. Landlords hoping to let to students had better beware or risk their property remaining empty,” says AIIC chair Patricia Barber.
She says double beds, widescreen TVs and clean, bright environments with substantial storage space are often regarded by students as deal-breakers; good broadband and wifi, included within the monthly rental payment, are also regarded as essential.
The AIIC also draws agents' and landlords attention to the notion that a detailed property inventory is essential when letting to students.
“If there is no inventory in place a landlord is likely to lose any dispute over deposit deductions at the end of the tenancy” says Barber.
“Students - and any other tenants for that matter - have high expectations at the start of a tenancy but do not necessarily leave the property in the same good condition as they found it” she says.
A detailed inventory, which has been signed and agreed by the tenant, will therefore be the most important piece of evidence should a dispute arise, according to the AIIC.