The UK is the second-most popular study destination in the world, with nearly 20% of students in the 2016-17 academic year coming from abroad and 13% of those from outside the EU.
That means if you’ve got a rental property in one of our major cities, there’s likely to be a high proportion of overseas students. In central London in particular, there are a lot of students from very privileged backgrounds, who are looking for high-end accommodation and prepared to pay the highest market rates.
So, if you’re thinking of letting to a non-UK national who’s studying here, what do you need to know?
1. Right to Rent checks
You need to ask to see their study visa and you should also be able to get a letter from the university to confirm registration. That should then give 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. If we are letting and managing your property for you, this is something we will do on your behalf.
Given that tuition fees are often doubled for international students, we find that many of those who come here to study are from fairly wealthy backgrounds. Nevertheless, you still need to take steps to protect yourself against them defaulting on their rent.
UK students will generally be asked for a guarantor but, because international students may not have anyone in the UK that can act for them, it’s common to ask for 6 or even 12 months’ rent up front, which insulates you from the problem of arrears. In addition, because of the conditions of study visas, you’ve got the assurance that affordability checks have already been made on the student before they were granted the right to study here.
3. Demand for high-end accommodation
The wealthier students, particularly those in London, 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 unit to overseas students in a tailored new development could be lucrative.
4. Provide the basics
Bear in mind that overseas students will often only have as much as they’ve been able to travel with, so make sure you provide all kitchen essentials (kettles, toaster, cutlery and crockery) and other household basics. And remember that they’ll be trying to keep in touch with family and friends overseas, so fast broadband is a must.