With the new academic year approaching, enrolment numbers for UK universities are continuing to rise.
A report from Knight Frank has revealed that student housing rental growth increased by 4.5% over the last year.
This is obviously good news if you are or are looking to become a student landlord. However, you won’t be surprised to hear that crime rates in areas with a high student population are 2.5% times greater than the national average.
As such, it is vital that you keep your property safe and secure. Follow these handy tips to protect your student property investment!
Take out the correct insurance-The first step in protecting your student investment is to ensure you have a suitable insurance policy. Alongside being subject to increased risk of crime, students are more likely to cause damage to your property. Make sure you have sufficient landlord insurance to cover yourself. What’s more, you might want to look into unoccupied property insurance, to protect yourself during summer months without tenants.
Exclude easy entry-Check both the interior and exterior of your property for easy access points. These could include weak or damaged doors and windows. Put yourself into the mindset of a thief and try and think how they could gain access-then exclude the risk!
Sound the alarm-Before letting to new student tenants, you should make sure that if your property has a burglar alarm, it is functioning correctly. In addition, you should train your tenants on how to use the alarm properly and watch them set it for peace of mind! It is important to carry out regular tests on burglar alarms.
Let there be light-One of the best ways to prevent a break-in in your property is to invest in solid security lighting. A security lighting system outside the building will not only deter thieves but will alert neighbours to any suspicious activity. Inside, you should think about installing light timers on lamps to give the impression someone is in even if the property is empty. Again, you should make sure that your tenants know how to set the timers correctly.
Enlist neighbourhood watch-When you have purchased a student investment property, it is a good idea to gain the trust of people living nearby. By nature, students will not be in their property as much as regular tenants, so make sure that you get neighbours to keep a look out for anything untoward.
Create a checklist-It can be very useful for your student tenants if you provide them with a list of security tips at the start of their agreement. For many students, it will be the first time that they have lived independently, so even simple reminders such as locking doors and setting the alarm will be welcome!
Comply with legislation-While you will want your students to treat your property with care, you must remember that you have obligations of your own. Check that you adhere to HMO safety requirements, be sure to implement fire safety regulations and see if there is a licensing scheme for landlords in the area. For furnished properties, you must ensure that the property complies with Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. If you are struggling with compliance issues, a reputable letting agent will manage this side of things for you.