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Agent says landlords must improve offer to compete for students

Online lettings agency Upad says that with the volume of purpose-built student accommodation set to increase 17 per cent this year, landlords using older property must up their game to compete effectively.

The situation may be exacerbated by a reduction in domestic student numbers since the introduction of tuition fees in England. 

"It's been easy for landlords to buy an older property, throw in some second-hand beds and desks and bring in a regular rent over the course of the academic year. Now, with an increase in private developers building smart, contemporary and potentially more appealing student accommodation, we are really seeing a shift and many landlords pulling out of the market to appeal more to mainstream renters" claims Upad chief executive be James Davis.

“Given the choice, many sharing students, especially more mature students, prefer to live in a traditional property as opposed to an extension of student halls. Landlords hoping to hold on to this market, therefore, may need to up their game significantly to still be the more appealing choice to student renters. This may involve anything from ensuring the property is painted and thoroughly cleaned throughout to bigger gestures such as the inclusion of utility bills and fast Wi-Fi as part of the package” he suggests.

He says landlords may also wish to consider:

- including bills in the monthly rent (ideally gas, electricity and Wi-Fi);

- consider employing a cleaner to give the property a once over every week or fortnight;

- ensuring suitable shared living space is available to tenants. In the past, landlords may have sacrificed the living room for another bedroom and increase the rental yield. By keeping the living room space as a communal area, however, the property will appeal more to friends looking to share a property and give it more of a homely feel;

- excluding the summer holidays from the rental period. Landlords may be able to let out their property through other means during the summer and students may like the option of not paying rent during this time;

- maintaining the garden to a high standard. Purpose built student accommodation is less likely to offer private outdoor space, so offering a garden will be an appealing feature. 

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