We say it every year but the 'Student Lettings Season' really does get earlier and earlier year in, year out. When we first opened a decade or so ago, students would begin viewing properties for the following September around mid-to-late February. Five years down the line and the momentum had shifted to soon after the post-New Year university term had begun, so around the middle of January.
Nowadays the action kicks off well before Christmas, with properties being let as early as mid-October. That's eleven months in advance of moving in... talk about planning ahead! It's got to a point whereby we're apologising to our existing tenants because we're having to ask them if they're planning on staying next year just a month after moving in! But it's likely they were in the same position last year and possibly again this time if they are planning on moving, so they're more than happy to accommodate our viewings - which makes our lives an awful lot easier.
As of the end of November, we'd let 97 properties for the 2013/14 academic year - by far and away a record for the same cut-off point in years gone by. We envisage things continuing in the same vein until the students go home for Christmas around the middle of December...and then it all starts again when they come back in January! We'd hazard a guess that 90% of students will have secured their accommodation for next year by the end of February.
In order to be there for our tenants, we have decided to extend our opening hours until 8pm during this period. Thankfully, our staff love the 'Lettings buzz'...it must be the lie-ins and later starts they get as a result!