They’re almost certainly broke, probably feckless, barely house-trained and might already be showing signs of a drink problem….but lots of landlords (like me) just love letting to students. Why? They’re easy to please, rarely complain and the rent is guaranteed by mum and dad.

However, before you tick the “students may apply” box in your property ad, read my handy hints to letting to students (first published in part in the Evening Standard) to make sure it’s stress-free.

  • Explain everything to them at least twice. The first time they will be on WhatsApp or Snapchat, so nothing will sink in.


  • If they still look like they haven’t understood a word you’ve said, check they haven’t got their earbuds in.


  • In London, students expect to pay for accommodation for a full calendar year, rather than the nine-month academic year, so don’t let them persuade you to give them a discount over the summer.


  • Students often offer a guarantor in lieu of a deposit, but you should ask for both to avoid having to chase Mum or Dad for the bill to clean up their kids’ filth at the end of the tenancy.


  • Give them a single joint contract, rather than individual contracts for each room, so they all move in and leave together, otherwise, when they all fall out (which they will) some will leave and you’ll be left with the nightmare of trying to re-let their rooms in a property that the others will have turned into a pigsty.


  • Do not provide a microwave. They will blow it up.


  • Do no not provide a vacuum cleaner. They won’t use it. At least, not for any cleaning. On the other hand, they might Hoover up the cat.


  • Don’t expect them to automatically pay the rent, they might think it’s optional, like re-paying a parental loan. Prod them.


  • However, accept students might be late paying rent while waiting for their finance to arrive in mid September, early January and April. Ask what date their loans arrive and give them a deadline – then chase them.


  • Don’t expect them to keep the place clean, it’s not your fault if they get Ecoli, but do tell them, in writing, that they must pay for a professional clean at the end of the tenancy if it was cleaned before they moved in. Attach a copy of the cleaning receipt to their inventory/check in report/tenancy agreement as proof.


  • Don’t expect them to return your phone calls, emails or texts. Like your own kids, they will only get in touch when they need something from you.


  • Make a point of telling them where they can and can’t smoke — because, trust me, they will smoke. They will also smoke where you tell them they can’t, don’t be afraid to tell them off.


  • Install smoke alarms (see previous tip). Putting heat detectors in kitchens might also prevent your student tenants from burning down the place.


Finally, be prepared for some extra wear and tear. My lot have stuck posters all over the walls with sticky tape, and it’s going to look horrible when they leave, but rather than re-decorate between student lets, just tell the next lot to cover up any mess with their own idea of art

About the Author

Victoria Whitlock

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Victoria Whitlock is a journalist-cum-landlord with rental properties in southwest London. She is best known for her tell-it-how-it-is weekly column in the London Evening Standard Homes & Property section about the life of a landlord.

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