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Managing Student Tenants

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managing student tenants

While you may be experienced in the art of dealing with tenants---including meeting their needs, communicating with them through the application process and responding appropriately to their complaints, among other tasks---handling student renters can be a bit different.

Many college students who rent apartments are new to leasing, and therefore may not know the typical tenant etiquette. Some of these youngsters disobey property rules, pay rent late and don't take care of their units as a renter should.

However, with student renters making up a substantial portion of the apartment market each year, it's unlikely the number of undergraduates leasing will dwindle anytime soon, so property managers have good reason to learn how to handle student renters.

Marketing to Student Renters

Since demand for off-campus rental properties is considerable, property managers have to compete with one another to get quality tenants in their residences. Multifamily Insiders states before managers decide to get the word out about their apartment unit; they should research their market thoroughly.

By understanding the trends in a given area, the source states property managers can determine the most appropriate plan of action in terms of advertising their properties and units. Should a manager find out a rental property down the street is offering one month of rent free to students looking for apartments, they may want to market a concession of their own, such as a free television or a free utility for a month, to attract those same applicants.

The student renting season each fall typically moves quickly, according to Multifamily Insiders, so property managers should have their paperwork ready to go once undergrads begin searching the market, which usually begins in late summer.

Interviewing Potential Student Tenants

To avoid leasing to students who may not be suitable tenants, DoItYourself.com says property managers should determine if they are quality prospective applicants for an available rental unit. This includes a thorough investigation into their financial history, the source states.

As most college students are typically in the 18-22 age range, this means they likely have little or no credit history. But, that doesn't mean property managers can't figure out if they're financially responsible. For example, if an undergrad applicant is employed and has been for an extensive period, that could be an indication of a fiscally knowledgeable applicant, which makes them a more viable candidate to be approved.

Additionally, the website says if multiple students intend on living together during the school year, that means each one could put their name on the rental lease agreement. By having each tenant sign their names on the dotted line, the chances of getting burned by renters who can't pay their bills on time (or at all) are substantially diminished, making them a lesser risk.

Party Time? Not Excellent

Though it may be a stereotype that all college students like to party all the time and make a mess of their off-campus residences, property managers should still ensure there is language in a lease agreement that states clear rules about having guests over, loud noises and other things that may prove disruptive to neighbors and the property itself, according to DoItYourself.

The last thing a property manager wants to deal with is complaints from loyal, quality tenants at 3 a.m. regarding considerably loud music coming from the unit next door. This could lead a manager to have to deal with issues from multiple renters based on the actions of tenants at one unit, and may spur some residents to get out of or not renew their lease again.

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October 3, 2011