A 2019 report by Towergate Insurance has identified the key attributes which students want in a landlord. Fulfilling these needs will undoubtedly make you and your property more appealing within the increasingly competitive student housing market. The report also unearthed some ideas which should make the letting process easier.
Unsurprisingly, landlord responsiveness was one of the areas identified in the survey. 73% of students said that having a landlord who is slow to respond to issues is there biggest problem when renting their student home. The National Student Accommodation Survey 2019 also supports this finding with 10% of student waiting more than 1 month for a resolution to a problem raised to their landlord.
One in four students surveyed reported that they did not have any direct contact with their landlord, this shows the popularity of the use of a letting or management agent. However 62% of students stated that they would much prefer to deal with the landlord directly as opposed to a management agency.
Another significant issue identified by students is unannounced landlord visits. Landlord should be aware that they must give 24 hours notice before entering the property and they may still only do this if the tenants agree. Anything other than this is illegal.
Contact Through Technology
Landlords often lean towards traditional forms of communication when contacting their student tenants. Face to face and telephone contact were the most commonly used communication, however student tenants would prefer to use email as the main form of contact between their landlord and themselves. Instant messaging apps such as Whatsapp are not proving particularly popular with either group – used by 5% of landlords and only preferred by 15% of tenants.
Although the majority of students, 58%, found their experiences with landlords and managing agents to be professional, one in five survey respondents stated they have had a disappointing or unprofessional experience with a landlord. Being polite and professional should be an aim of any business when dealing with customers, as this helps create a relationship with them and results in greater customer satisfaction.
An area where landlords can improve the professionalism of their service is by providing an induction to the property. Currently less than 50% of students receive an in person orientation of their new home.
Only 43% of students were shown around the property by their landlord, whereas 14% received an induction over the telephone. The lack of contact when moving in also meant that student tenants were not shown how to find energy meters (24%), given instructions about fuse boxes (20%), and instructed on how to control hot water and heating (18%). Conducting an induction and covering the aforementioned areas at the beginning of the tenancy should reduce the amount of questions and call outs during the tenancy, and therefore time investment.
Another point noted by students is that they were only introduced to their new neighbours 7% of the time. Doing this will not only reduce any tension associated with the new tenants, but also help the students settle in to their home.
Much of the desired qualities by students involve good communication. Much of the tension associated with the letting and management process can be reduced by regular and reliable communication.
To be an appealing landlord to students landlords should; behave professionally when dealing with tenants; endeavor to resolve any issues quickly and respond to communications regularly and reliably; and spend time at the beginning of the tenancy to perform a property induction.
Tower Insurance. 2019. Accessed 22nd November, 2019, from https://www.towergateinsurance.co.uk/media/5990743/what-students-want-from-accommodation-in-2019-report.pdf
National Student Accommodation Survey. 2019. Accessed 22nd November, 2019, from https://www.savethestudent.org/accommodation/national-student-accommodation-survey-2019.html