Landlords face tough competition from purpose-built student accommodation

Race track lanesWith a growing number of purpose-built student accommodation blocs coming to fruition across Wales and England, many landlords with older properties to let may find themselves unstuck unless they find a way to up their game in order to compete effectively.

Until the recent purpose-built student property boom, landlords typically found letting property to students relatively straight-forward, as they could buy an older property, furnish it with second-hand beds, sofas and desks, then simply charge a regular rent that would cover the course of the academic year. However, the current shift in student accommodation means it may no longer be quite so straight forward for these landlords to attract students.

Traditional student shares may be ousted by modern student builds

With private developers entering the student property scene on a much larger scale than ever before, more and more contemporary accommodation in sought-after locations is becoming available, and these purpose-built student flats are proving to be far more popular than traditional student shares. Therefore, we are seeing a real shift as many landlords are deciding to pull themselves out of the student rental market and try their hand at appealing to mainstream renters instead.

Historically, when provided with a choice, many sharing students do typically tend to prefer traditional properties as opposed to the tiny rooms typically offered in student halls - especially mature students. But, landlords with these traditional student properties may need to significantly up their game if they hope to remain an appealing choice for this segment of student renters.

What can landlords with traditional properties do?

There are a number of things landlords can do to present the property in a better light and remain a great option for students, such as ensuring the property is inviting from an external point of view, as well as internally painted and decorated to a good standard, and thoroughly cleaned throughout. For an even bigger impact, landlords may want to consider the inclusion of utility bills and/or Wi-Fi connection as part of the package, as this will make the property a more financially attractive proposition for students working within a budget.

Landlords could also consider the following:

  • Include bills in the monthly rent (such as gas, electricity and Wi-Fi);
  • Employ a professional cleaner to visit the property weekly, fortnightly or monthly;
  • Ensure that there is a suitable amount of space available within the shared living areas. Landlords often sacrifice the living room for an extra bedroom as this increases the rental yield, but keeping the living room as a communal area should make the property far more accommodating and appealing to students who are looking to share a property with friends;
  • Exclude the summer months from the rental period. Many students are likely to appreciate not having to pay rent during the summer, because they are unlikely to need accommodation if they are heading home after the academic year. To escape a void period, landlords could let the property through other means during this time on a short-term basis. It may sound like a headache, but it’d certainly help attract students.
  • Make sure the garden is well maintained. Purpose-built student accommodation is unlikely to offer private outdoor space, so for a landlord with a traditional property, this can be a trump card. Offering a well-presented garden is appealing to far more students than you may think.

If you’re a landlord in Cardiff looking to get the most out of your property by letting to the growing student demand we have in many areas of South Wales, or if you’re a student in Cardiff searching for the perfect property, then get in touch with our experienced lettings team to discuss the best way forward. You can contact us on 02920 668585, e-mail us at or pop into one of our friendly branches, conveniently located in Cathays, Roath or Cardiff Bay.

17 November 2017


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