Single-Family…College Housing? 

Posted by Michael Miller on October 29, 2018

You’ve got a single family home to rent. The approach is always the same: rent the whole house to a single family or split it up and down between two. But there is a third option: rooms for college kids. Don’t panic…it’s not as crazy as you might think.

Lose the Fear

Indeed, everyone has seen the movies: “Animal House” “Old School,” “Neighbors,” etc. The stories of college kids trashing rentals are legendary, but don’t let a Hollywood trope blind you to reality. In truth, there are a lot of solid, responsible college kids who simply can’t afford to rent an entire apartment on their own. The chance to rent a room in a single-family house is appealing to them, practically and economically.

Do the Math

The numbers tell the tale. Rent an entire house to a single family and they have one income (two at the most) paying rent. Lease that same house to as many college kids as you have bedrooms, and you’ve now got four or five people with incomes paying rent. The secret is that even though individually they need to pay less in rent, cumulatively they will end up paying far more than a single family ever could.

For example, a single family seeks to rent a 5-bedroom, 2-bath home for $1500-$2500/month. Rent that same property to five students instead, charging each room out at $500 to $700 per month. That results in $2500-$3500 per month—$1000 more per month! You’re happy with the increased rent and your tenants are thrilled with individual rates that are often half of what they would pay living solo.

Be Smart, Protect Yourself

Managing multiple tenants within a single house can increase a landlord’s workload. Make a deal to rent the entire house to a single student. Let that student do the heavy lifting of attracting and vetting roommates, along with rent collection and similar. By signing a single lease with a single person you avoid the multi-tenant headaches, creating one point of contact. That way, all liability and responsibility falls to them. As a bonus, it also means friendlier insurance rates for you too.

You Handle the Exterior

Offering to include all lawn/landscaping, snow removal, etc. is key. First, it makes your rental that much more attractive to student-tenants, and it also ensures regular on-site access to the property. That’s helpful in two ways: You get more chances to identify problems before they can become serious, and it reminds tenants to be on their best behavior. That’s good for everyone.

Reward Responsibility

Tacking on a few reverse incentives like cash-back deals for consistent, on-time rent payments, discounts for long-term leases, or even gift-cards for those “going the extra mile” are just some of the ways to ensure the success of your college rental project.

Build a Student-Friendly Rep

When it comes to students, there will always be more. If you build a reputation as a fair, student-friendly landlord, you’ll have no trouble keeping your place rented consistently–and at higher valuations–for years.

Without a doubt, children are the future…especially when it comes to college kids and landlords.

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