Grotty student properties where springs poke out of the mattress and the desk doubles as a dining table are on their way out, as landlords are taking note of increasing demand for high quality furnished properties.
According to the Landlord Syndicate, a network of companies providing a complete support centre for landlords, increasingly high expectations from students are making landlords pay more attention to the kind of property they offer.
Over the last year, one member of the Landlord Syndicate, Student-Furniture, has seen over 100% rise in demand for their student furniture packs. The firm’s managing director Ben Hall, believes it can be partly attributed to increasing student expectations.
‘Most students looking for a property in their first or second year have come from standard clean and tidy family then into halls of residence, which have been much improved over the last decade. It would seem nowadays, students are a lot less willing to downgrade into something which costs the same, but is sub-standard. Similarly, parents see the value in paying that bit extra to ensure a comfortable living/study environment,’ he said.
The student rental market has become increasingly competitive meaning student landlords heading into the next busy academic year need to do more than ever to make their property stand out.
‘My advice to landlords is to make use of the next two months to ensure their property is up to scratch before students commence their search for next year’s house. Whilst benefitting from low interest rates, a portion of profit from rental income should be set aside to improve a property’s furnishings and décor which will equate to higher rents, minimal void periods and higher yields,’ explained Hall.
There is a negative perception of the way students treat properties leaving many landlords struggling to justify the investment in nice furnishings, but Hall said this is a false economy. ‘In actual fact, the majority of students want a home that is clean, modern and trendy and our experience tells us landlords should invest because the better properties attract the better student tenants,’ he added.
The Landlord Syndicate general advice is that as a minimum landlords should look to provide the essentials which are a bed and mattress, wardrobe, set of drawers, bedside table and ideally a desk in each room. The living or communal area must have adequate seating for the number of tenants in the property, a coffee table, a TV stand and maybe even a couple of bookcases or a nest of tables.
‘Landlords need to look at ways to make their property that little bit more appealing than every other student property in the area, and token homely touches such as lamps, rugs, cushions, mirrors, perhaps even small electrical items which don’t have to cost the earth, will all help,’ Hall pointed out.
‘The more attractive you make your student accommodation furniture, the easier you will find it to let your house for a slightly higher than average amount and you will be surprised about how much extra interest, from the right candidates, those finishing touches can generate. A property that looks like it’s taken care of is much more likely to be treated in the same manner,’ he added.