Students Are an Acquired Taste. but It's Your Call; Victoria Whitlock Learns Why Having Undergraduates for Tenants Is Not Something Every Landlord Finds Palatable the Accidental Landlord

The Evening Standard (London, England), March 14, 2012 | Go to article overview

Students Are an Acquired Taste. but It's Your Call; Victoria Whitlock Learns Why Having Undergraduates for Tenants Is Not Something Every Landlord Finds Palatable the Accidental Landlord


Byline: Victoria Whitlock

ARECENT discovery I've made is that students are like Marmite. While some landlords recoil in disgust at the idea of them as tenants, others can't understand what's not to love about them.

I used to think that landlords would only let to students as a last resort -- all those I know visibly shudder at the prospect. However, I have since discovered that some would actually rather let to students than to professionals.

A friend, who is temporarily based overseas, is looking to invest in a rental flat in the UK. She will let it for 10 months of the year and live there herself for two months every summer. She started her search for a property in Winchester, where an estate agent said she should consider student lets. The agent's logic was that because students only need to rent from September to June, this would sync perfectly with my friend's plan to live in the property during July and August. Also, according to the agent, she would have a decent pool of young people to choose from.

The agent conceded that students who have never lived away from mum and dad require a bit of handholding -- for example, you might have to explain what that white machine with a hole in the middle is used for -- but on the whole she said she had no real qualms about considering student lets. However, it was a different story when my friend widened her search for a property to London.

Together we popped into one estate agency to enquire about flats, and when my friend mentioned she was considering a student let the agent raised a pencilled eyebrow.

She leant across her desk towards us and peered at my friend over the top of her black-rimmed spectacles. "Students," she said, "are trouble."

She listed the reasons on her fingers -- they're late payers, they pay less than professionals, they can't always afford deposits and before you know it they've swapped with friends so you don't know who's living in your property. …

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