If you’re like many Prince George’s County landlords, you might worry that renting to college students will mean dealing with constant partying in your property, unwanted long-term guests, and costly damages.
That may be true sometimes, but what you may not realize is that renting to students can be very lucrative, if done correctly.
Whether you’re renting to University of Maryland students in Prince George’s County or students at another nearby school, our guide will help you both attract college students to your property and make the renting process as easy as possible.
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Tips for Attracting College Students to Your Maryland Rental
College students are a unique target market, so you need to take a unique approach when trying to attract them to your property. Here’s what you can do to win them over:
1. Advertise where college students are looking.
Most college students aren’t reading the newspaper, so you can forget about running a print ad there for your property.
Instead, choose Craigslist or another online option since that’s where students are more likely to look.
2. Include lots of pictures in your ad.
Many college students move from out of town, so add in some pictures to help them get an idea of what the property looks like without having to visit it right away. Be sure you include plenty of pictures of both the interior and the exterior of the property.
3. Mention online payment options in your ad.
College students are used to using the internet for everything, so paying in person might seem inconvenient to them. If you offer the option to pay online, mention that in your ad. If you don’t, consider setting up an online payment portal.
4. Be flexible with your leasing terms.
Some college students go back to their parents’ home for the summer, so a 12-month lease may not be ideal for them. Offer a shorter lease option so they can make the lease work with their school schedule.
5. Consider all-inclusive rent.
Students are often busy and not accustomed to paying several different bills every month. So, if you can include utilities and internet services in the monthly rent payment, do it – students will appreciate the convenience.
In fact, one Accommodation for Students (AFS) survey showed that more than 70% students said rent inclusive of bills was important to them.
If you do decide to offer all-inclusive rent, keep in mind that you’ll need to choose a reputable internet service provider and a fast internet speed. Multiple students in one home often have several different devices and depend on the internet to get their school work done, so the internet services need to be reliable.
6. List nearby attractions.
The University of Maryland, like many schools, offers several on-campus attractions for college students, including Chick-fil-a, Subway, a coffee shop, and a design and copy shop.
The convenience of having those attractions nearby is a big part of the reason many of their students opt for on-campus housing.
Since the college students you rent to won’t be living on campus, they’ll likely want easy access to several similar places that will make their college experience easier and more enjoyable, like:
- Coffee shops
- Fast food restaurants
- Grocery stores
- A print shop (like FedEx Office)
If your property is near any of these attractions or any other notable locations that are popular with college students, be sure to mention them in your ad. The added convenience could give you the edge you need to win the best student tenants over!
7. Provide a safe environment.
When you rent to college students, their parents may insist on viewing the property. One major concern you’ll find with a parent is the safety of their student, especially if the student is female.
To provide students’ parents with peace of mind, make sure the property is well-lit and take care of repairs in a timely manner. You may also want to install a security system if it’s within your budget – it could make all the difference in the world to a concerned parent.
Tips for Renting to College Students in Maryland
Once you’ve attracted the right college students to your rental property, take steps to maintain a healthy tenant/landlord relationship and lease to them successfully. Here’s how:
1. Create a custom lease agreement.
College students tend to invite friends over frequently, so you could face noise complaints, damages, or other issues if you don’t customize the lease a bit. You’ll definitely want to go into detail about your rules for:
- Noise restrictions
- Long-term guests who are not on the lease
Also, hold each student living in the property responsible for the whole rent amount, and make sure they understand that they’re still responsible for paying the rent in full if a roommate doesn’t pay his or her portion. That way, you won’t lose money due to one student moving out or being unable to pay.
If you need help creating a custom lease agreement for student tenants, hire an attorney. While this might cost a bit more than you’d like to pay upfront, it can save you from even bigger charges and issues in the future.
2. Make your rules clear.
When renting to college students, consider their maturity level – they’ve probably never lived on their own before and might not understand how they should behave in your property. Plus, they’re at a life stage where they may be looking to push your limits and see what they can get away with.
That’s why it’s important for you to clarify your house rules so students know exactly what is expected of them. Take the time to clearly explain the lease and let students know what the consequences are if they break the rules. And, if problems do arise, be firm and stand behind your rules so the students learn to respect you and your property.
3. Add a co-signer to the lease.
Most college students don’t have credit or a rental history, so you should require a co-signer in case something goes wrong.
Don’t forget to check the co-signer’s credit and verify their income so they can take responsibility for rent and other fees if the lease is broken.
If you need help screening and renting to college students in Prince George’s county, consider professional property management services.
Our screening process helps ensure that only the best student tenants end up renting your property. That way, you don’t have to worry about damages, unpaid rent, and evictions. If you’d like to learn more, let’s chat – contact us today!