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Top 10 Complaints Made by Student Renters & How to Handle Them

Top 10 Complaints Made by Student Renters & How to Handle Them
Student tenants specifically come with their own set of unique expectations and some common problems that may be encountered. Here are ten of the most common complaints voiced by student renters and insight on how to effectively handle these issues.   The landlord/maintenance person takes too long to fix things.Student renters live in an era of instant gratification, where they expect things to be delivered upon quickly; this is especially true for repairs in their accommodations. One of the most common complaints from student renters is the time it takes for things to be fixed by their landlord or maintenance team. The solution to this complaint is quite simple - promptly repair things or be honest about delays, if a repair cannot be made within a reasonable time frame.J Turner Research surveyed nearly 12,000 students and when asked about repair times for something broken in their apartment, 30% of students expected the repair to be completed in 24 hours or less. Even more shocking, 23% of students expected it to be fixed in 6 hours or less.  I didn’t get my security deposit back.This ranks at the top of the complaint list. Disputes often arise over the return of a security deposit, when a student renter is set to move out. Landlords can avoid this potential conflict by simply doing a walk-through with the tenant and specifically detailing what needs to be done in order for the student to get the full security deposit back. If the landlord cannot arrange a walk-through t......
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How to Win Friends and Influence Millennials

How to Win Friends and Influence Millennials
I’ve always felt jipped out of the really cool amenities (heck, even really lame ones); first, there was school. I went to a tiny liberal arts college in Virginia. The campus was old, including the dorms for men, so amenities weren’t really a thing-- my freshman year was the first year the dorms had wifi (granted this was back in ‘09). Upperclassmen housing wasn’t much better, consisting mostly of town homes. We had wifi and cable, that was basically it. After college I moved across the country to Utah, lived in student housing a little longer (it was cheap!) and had as sparse amenities as I did in Virginia, and now I live in a condo owned by the bassist in my roommate/best friend’s band in a community where, you guessed it, we’re sparse on amenities. I think we have a tennis court? The point of the story is that the next time I move, if it’s not into a house, it’s going to be into a community with some freaking sweet amenities… and being able to afford it shouldn’t have to be a problem. By this point, many of these amenities should be standard. But what amenities should I be looking for? What amenities do people (millennials like me, specifically) really want? The most sought after amenity is a fitness center. But why not expand on that? Biking related amenities and anything related to the outdoors are on a rise. Adding an outdoor running and biking trail will give residents a nicer alternative......
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Fundamental Student Utilities

Fundamental Student Utilities
One of the great rites of passage in this country is the opportunity to amass a fair amount of debt in exchange for an education.  It’s that scar that will stay with you for years to come.  Luckily, while pursuing that education, people need a place to live.  Every college town in America is filled with apartment communities that cater specifically to the student lifestyle, but filling those beds isn’t always an easy task.  One of the more challenging juggling acts that occur at most properties is figuring out how to handle the rising utility costs, while staying competitive.  It’s not uncommon to see utilities incorporated into marketing strategies in one way or another, but there is often a lack of understanding of the financial risks and potential impacts on resident satisfaction that stem from the different approaches.  Below we’ll dive into a few common mistakes, and learn the best practices that can help protect your bottom line. Free Utilities Probably the most common marketing approach when it comes to utilities in the student housing industry is to promote them as being included with rent.  While it’s tempting to fall prey to this tactic, let’s talk about what this means for your property.  One of the basic premises of a utility bill back service is that if an individual is responsible for the cost of the utility, they’re more likely to conserve.  Where there is conservation, there is also cost savings.  Pretty simple, right?  The logical conclusion to this thought process is that if you remove th......
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Meet The Parents: The Decision Makers In Student Housing

Meet The Parents: The Decision Makers In Student Housing
In saying ‘meet the parents’, we’re not referring to that comedy with Ben Stiller and Robert Deniro.  We’re talking about meeting the decision-makers in student housing – the student’s parents.   More often than not, parents are the real decision makers. Quite often, they are the financers for the rental accommodation too. The reality is that many underclassmen in college and university are still relatively dependent on their parents. This is why meeting the parents is kind of a big deal when it comes to student housing.   In a recent study conducted by J Turner Research and the National Apartment Association, over 3,600 parents were asked about their preferences and involvement in choosing student housing for their children. There were some interesting findings that strengthen the notion that parents are in fact the real decision makers:   56% of parents reported that their children paid 0% of their student housing costs. Only 13% of parents reported that their children paid 100% of their student housing costs. Other than rent, 71% of students receive $200 or more per month in financial assistance from their parents. Only 14% of parents reported giving their children $0 in assistance per month.   These statistics demonstrate that parents play a pivotal role in financing both a student’s living accommodations, as well as providing additional financial assistance for general living expenses. Without a doubt, parents have a heavy influence on the decision-making process for student housing, which is why landlords and property managers should focus on appealing not......
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Is Your City A Good Place To Invest In Student Housing?

Is Your City A Good Place To Invest In Student Housing?
As enrollment numbers for colleges and universities across North America continue to rise, so does the interest to invest in the niche student housing market. As Axiometrics stated, student housing is in and investors are flocking to the sector.While many investors and independent landlords are eager to enter this niche rental market, it’s important for them to do some market research first, as well as analyze their local universities and colleges.Here are some key considerations to think of when determining if your city is a good place to invest in student housing: 1. Student Enrollment & Growth:The first consideration to analyze should be the potential size of a tenant pool. Just because there is a college or university in a city, doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a good place to invest in student housing. Cities that boast a student population exceeding 10,000+ are ideal, as this makes the student housing sector a larger and more appealing niche.Another factor to consider is whether or not the schools within that city are steadily growing or if their student population is remaining stagnant. Growth is particularly important when planning for the future.  2. Residential vs. Commuter School:The second consideration is to determine if the schools within that city are residential or commuter schools.Residential schools are ones characterized by a very strong sense of community, typically fostered by having the vast majority of students living on-campus. Residential schools usually have a very low percentage of students who live off-campus, making them unattractive to student housing inv......
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How To Screen Prospective Student Tenants

How To Screen Prospective Student Tenants
Student renters are somewhat of a unique breed of tenants. Quite commonly, they have unique needs and don’t have any rental or credit history, which can make the screening process more difficult. To help landlords with this process, we’ve compiled a few tips for screening prospective student tenants.Considering most rental inquiries will come via telephone or email, a landlord can have a set of questions prepared for potential tenants to save time. In addition to the standard questions a landlord will ask such as name, contact information and preferred move-in date, the landlord should also get more detailed. The tenant’s responses could potentially disqualify himself or herself immediately. For example, if a landlord operates a non-smoking or no pet rental, it would be beneficial to ask right away if the tenant has a pet or smokes.   Landlords should also ask more student specific questions. These questions could include:   Do you already have a roommate or people you plan to move in with? How long of a lease are you looking for? When does your school term begin?   These questions are of equal importance in the prescreening process. For example, if the student renter is only looking for a one-term lease (5-6 months), but the landlord wants a one-year commitment, this wouldn’t be the best tenant. Also, if the student’s term begins in January, but the landlord needs to fill the rental for September, this also won’t work.   Most landlords ask for a credit check and previous landlord references. While these are common ......
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Collecting Rent: Which payment method is best for landlords & student renters?

Collecting Rent: Which payment method is best for landlords & student renters?
It should come as no surprise that most young college students have never actually written a check. Times have changed significantly! The old ways of paying rent are slowly becoming dated and less favorable for today’s generation of renters. Let’s review a variety of payment methods and the pros and cons for each.Cash:Cash is king, as the saying goes. This isn’t always the case when it comes to paying rent though. Many landlords with a room for rent within their home would gladly take cash as payment; however, student housing operators, leasing companies and property managers will likely not accept cash.   Wondering why?   Cash must generally be accepted in person. Landlords and property managers would not want a tenant leaving cash in an envelope at the property or sending it via the mail.  Cash creates more of a hassle. The landlord would have to pick up the money, provide a receipt each month, and then make a bank deposit immediately.   Cash doesn’t leave as effective a paper trail for records, especially if it’s not accounted for properly. There are far easier methods of payment for both landlords and tenants.   Personal Check:Checks are most convenient for landlords and property managers, as the accounting process is easiest. When a check clears the bank, it instantly creates a record of payment. The problem is that a lot of student renters don’t have checks, have never written a check, or prefer to pay in a different manner.   Other issues to consider are the pot......
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It's Suicide Season

Student Housing presents some interesting dynamics and challenges for Property Managers and Leasing Consultant Teams. Some of my most recent observations include: Helicopter Parents who initiate the leasing process for their college-age “child” because their “child” is simply too busy to find a place to live off-campus.  Many colleges and universities require Seniors to live off campus. Students are told this from the beginning, but somehow, it amazes me every year when some distraught parent calls looking for housing at the last minute. The most obnoxious residents in the Student Housing market are those students majoring in Pre-law or who are enrolled in law school. Without a doubt, they are the most argumentative of any resident.  They often do not read their housing contract until it is time to move out, at which time, they will argue every paragraph (even the same paragraphs previously initialed.) Students will order everything through Amazon. I wish I was an investor in Amazon. They even order toilet paper and diapers, something I never saw happen in my conventional properties. Students generally show up to events which provide giveaways for free food. The most polite Student Residents have been our Student Athletes. Not sure what the coaches instill in these students, but these Students are a pleasure to know. A lot of Students seem to be REACTIVE when it comes to paying rent on time. “What? Oh wait! Rent is due every month on what day???? Nobody ever told me that.” The apple does not fall far from th......
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European Student Housing Market at a Glance

European Student Housing Market at a Glance
Over the next decade, the European student population is set to grow exponentially, with an estimated 8 million students to be enrolled in post-secondary institutions across the continent by 2025. This increase in enrollment has created a higher demand for student housing in many countries in Europe.   Currently the United Kingdom is the leading country in terms of student housing accommodations and investment, followed by Germany and France. As the student housing market continues to mature, investors are starting to look at new countries in which investment opportunity lies. This begs the question, what countries in Europe hold the most investment potential for student housing?   Two good indicators of the demand for student housing are the student population and the student housing provision rate. The provision rate is calculated by taking the number of student registrations and dividing it by the total number of places in student halls (purpose-built student housing). Here’s a snapshot of the top 10 European countries, according to highest student enrollment rates in 2013 (Savills, European Student Housing).   1.     United Kingdom:  2,500,000 students, 21% student housing provision rate. 2.     Germany:  2,400,000 students, 11% student housing provision rate. 3.     France:  2,300,000 students, 11% student housing provision rate. 4.     Spain:  1,900,000 students, 8% student housing provision rate. 5.     Italy:  1,800,000 students, 2% student housing provision rate. 6.     The Netherlands:  670,000 students, 17% student housing provision rate. 7.     Sweden:  460,000 students, 23% student housing provision rate. 8.     Belgium:  450,000 students, 11% student housing provision rate. 9.     Austria:  360,000 students, 16% student housing provision rate. 10.   Switzerland:  250,000 s......
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Investing For Success In Student Housing

Investing For Success In Student Housing
As enrolment rates at colleges and universities across North America continue to rise, the demand for off-campus housing is also rising. As a result, investors and property owners are recognizing the financial opportunities available within the off-campus housing market.      Before making an investment in student housing, property owners and investors should analyze the market that the rental accommodation(s) is located in. There are many situational factors to consider:   How many college or universities are in the surrounding area? Are enrolment rates increasing or decreasing at these schools? How much on-campus housing is available? Are there restrictions regarding which students can live off-campus at these schools (do freshmen & sophomores have to live on-campus)? What is the academic calendar for these schools (start and end dates for each semester)? What is the leasing cycle like?   Other market factors to pay attention to include:   What are the going rental rates? How competitive is the rental market? Is rental licensing required?   This information can help property owners and investors get a firm understanding of how in-demand student housing is within a given market.   In relation to market research, investors and property owners should also consider the leasing habits of student renters. Every rental market is a little different and the tenants will have certain nuances. For example, it’s important to know exactly when student tenants are looking for housing. In highly competitive rental markets, students may be signing leases up to a year in advance of the r......
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