Common student landlord questions - Part 1

House keys and penStudent activity is building up across Cardiff as the new University term approaches, and this means many landlords within the capital will be facing fresh new challenges and a plethora of different problems.

Over two parts, we’re going to outline a few of the most common issues and questions you’re likely to encounter as a student landlord, so read on to ensure you’re well equipped to answer them over the coming weeks.

What do I do if a student has signed a contract, but decides to leave University and wants to move out?

It’s very common for a student to change their mind about University and deciding the right course of action as a landlord in this situation all comes down to the tenancy agreement that the student has signed. If your student tenant is in a student house or HMO and named on a signed single tenancy agreement with other students, then the student must first give notice and pay rent until they vacate, or a replacement student is found. Following this, any other tenants that remain in the property must cover the full rent until the suitable replacement tenant is found.

However, if the student is in a student HMO, all tenants are on separate Assure Shorthold Tenancy’s (ASTs), and in this case the student should give notice and then once they vacate, the remaining tenants do not have to cover the full rental payments. The student that vacates will still be liable to pay their rent until a suitable student tenant is found.

If a deposit has been taken, then the landlord or letting agent may discuss using a portion of it towards marketing costs to help the student re-let the room they are vacating to avoid any lengthy delays.

If the student does not honour the agreement and rent does not get paid on a single tenancy, then the landlord can pursue a named guarantor for rent payments if one is in place.

As a student landlord is my property exempt from council tax?

If the property is wholly occupied by full-time university or college students then yes, the property is exempt from paying council tax.

My tenants are arriving from overseas, and I want to ensure I have completed the necessary checks.

All tenants and student tenants, aside from those in halls of residences, who are set to enter a tenancy agreement for privately rented accommodation must first confirm that they have the legal right to live in the UK, which is known as a “right to rent check”. Once this check is carried out and it’s confirmed that the student can live in the UK, the landlord can then issue a written or verbal agreement to rent a property or room out.

As a landlord, you will need to make a copy of the students’ passport, as well as a copy of the visa page and a diary note should the visa be due to expire before the end of the tenancy agreement. It’s advised that landlords perform this check at least 28 days before the visa is due to expire.

What should I do if my student tenants still haven’t completed the check-in inventory?

Students are often excited about starting student life, meeting new people and sorting out a list of important things, which means the inventory can often slip their mind. However, it’s vital that you ensure the student(s) complete the inventory check-in sheet within a 7-day window, or within a timeframe given by the landlord or letting agent to highlight any issues with the property at the start of the tenancy. If you find a problem at the end of the tenancy and are unable to provide an inventory, then you are likely to find issues when trying to deduct costs from the deposit. A signed inventory is hard evidence that determines the state of the property at the start of the tenancy and is beneficial for both the landlord and the student tenant.

Be sure to look out for part 2, where we’ll answer more common questions you’re likely to ask as a student landlord.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for assistance with a property you let or are looking to let, or have any other questions that we haven’t answered, then check out our Landlord FAQ guide with a whole host of helpful information, or alternatively we welcome you to get in touch with our knowledgeable team here at CPS Homes.

12 September 2018

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