Landlord advice: letting to overseas students
Given that the UK is the second-most popular study destination in the world, if you have rental property in one of our major cities, there is likely to be a high proportion of overseas students. For the academic year 2016-17, 13% of students were from outside the EU and 6% from other EU countries. But what do you need to consider, as a landlord, before agreeing to let to a non-UK national who’s studying here?
Generally speaking, students are asked to provide a guarantor for their rental contract, but in the case of international students, they may not have anyone based in the UK that could act in such a way for them. In the past a common solution was for landlords to take six or 12 months’ rent up front, which gave a certain amount of insulation against arrears. However, with the Tenant Fees Act introduced on 1 June 2019 the only charges that can be made are now classed as 'Permitted Payments', details of which can be found here.
And because of the conditions of study visas, you have the assurance that affordability checks have already been made on the student before they were granted the right to study here.
In central London in particular, there are many overseas students from very privileged backgrounds, who are looking for high-end accommodation and prepared to pay the highest market rates. These students tend to live alone or in pairs and want access to the latest technology and leisure facilities. So, if you’re thinking about investing, letting a one or two-bedroomed flat to overseas students in one of these tailored new developments could prove lucrative.
Obviously, ‘right to rent’ checks need to be made, which is part of the service we offer, asking to see their visa and a letter from the university to confirm registration. You then have the peace of mind that you can contact the university for information and advice if there are any issues, or in the case of an emergency.
Finally, bear in mind that overseas students tend to only have with them as much as they have been able to travel with, so make sure you provide kitchen essentials, such as kettles, toaster, cutlery and crockery. And, given that they will be trying to keep in touch with family and friends overseas, fast broadband is a must.