College Student Renters, Subletting and Tenant Background Checks

Summer is in full swing and many recent high school graduates are making plans or already have made plans to attend a College or University in September.  One huge piece to this process is securing housing situations if they will not be living at home.  The process of going to college full-time can be overwhelming. Finalizing financial aid, finding the right classes, enrolling in the right classes and of course having a place to live.

With student rentals on the rise so is the potential for additional revenue for landlords and even the college student parents.  It may make more fiscal sense to buy a property near the college that their children will attend as this may be a more cost effective strategy.  Of course though, when renting to college student that may sublet part of their apartment to manage their own costs it still is a wise decision to run tenant background checks on all those that will be living in the apartment including those with sublet rooms.

Many students will have the luxury of living at home, commuting to school, and maintaining the semblance of a balanced life, but for others going to college represents leaving home and living far from the comforts of mom and dad’s house.

The prospect of renting to college students for landlords and property managers is increasingly bright.  And, in some cases, purchasing a home near a college may prove to be a bigger bargain for parents than paying rent.

From Zillow (Sep. 04, 14)

With the combination of high rates of affordability and rapidly rising rents, parents with kids just starting out in college may want to consider purchasing a property for the remainder of their 4-year stay rather than paying rent.

Zillow data shows that the demand for off-campus rental housing is rising, creating a large spike in rental prices that show no sign of slowing down. On the other hand, home values are still below their peak levels and mortgage rates remain low, making for great bargains for buyers who plan to own their home for at least three years.

Whether an incoming freshman lives at an existing property or one that is purchased, there may be the additional opportunity of sub-letting.  Other friends or classmates can fill the empty rooms and potentially provide additional income.

Regardless if a property is a single family dwelling or an apartment complex a sublet makes sense for a number of reasons.

From (Jul. 01, 17):

Allowing subletting will make your building more attractive for students. Knowing that they have the option to find someone to pay for the room when they are not there is a definite incentive to choose one building over another, and they will be more willing to keep their lease if they know they can get other people to contribute. Yet for you as the property owner, you now take the risk of allowing a student to be an intermediate between you and the subtenants.

Having a sublet of a property can provide continued occupancy, reduced maintenance costs, and ensured income.  But the key to a successful sublet is the same as any rental situation.  Every sublet renter must go through a thorough vetting process and tenant background check that includes a criminal background check and sex offender check, as well as sign a well-written rental agreement, one that meters out the exact demands and requirements of property management.

Ultimately a thorough tenant screening prior to renting will serve as a best practice for both primary renter and sub renter.  The same policy holds true for a home purchased in lieu of renting and extra rooms are rented out.  As long as the communication between renter and landlord remains open, the policies and requirements understood, and all promises fulfilled, the landlord/renter relationship should be very positive.

To learn more about college student rentals, subletting and why performing tenant background checks on both the student renter and the sublet tenant read recent press release:

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