Owning rental property in a college town can be a boon and a bane. On one hand, you are practically guaranteed a steady supply of renters during the school year. On the other hand, college students have the somewhat deserved reputation for being irresponsible, which may translate to property damage, noise complaints, and lost rent for you. If you own property in a college town, here are two things you should include in your lease to protect yourself when renting to students.
Subleasing the Property
There are a number of reasons why students may want to sublease the rental property. One common reason is the lease is 12-months long and they are only in school for 9 months. Many college students go home for the summer and try to find people to take over the remaining 3 months so they don't have to pay for them. Another common reason is the student leaves school sooner than expected because they graduated early, dropped out, or were expelled.
Regardless of the reason, your lease should outline your stance regarding subleasing the property. If you decide to allow tenants to sublease, you should require the
You should also make the leaseholder responsible for any damage to the property or unpaid rent regardless of who is actually in the unit. This will likely motivate the tenant to be more selective about who he or she sublets to. It can also simplify the recovery process, since you only have to focus on going after one person for the damages rather than trying to track down multiple parties.
If you choose not to allow subletting, be certain to include and clearly outline the penalties for subleasing the apartment without permission, and make those penalties are steep enough to serve as a deterrent (e.g.
Make Everyone Responsible for the Property
Some property owners create separate lease agreements for each student living in the rental unit to accommodate special needs, such as different school start dates. The problem with this option is it makes it too easy for the tenants to bounce responsibility for damages or unpaid rent between each other and leave the landlord holding the metaphorical bag. It's just best to make all parties responsible for the unit and let the tenants work out the issue between themselves.
The same goes for cosigners on the lease. Parents of young college students will often cosign for the rental unit to help their kids. You should state in the lease that the cosigner is responsible for all parties in the rental to avoid dealing with parents trying to eschew responsibility for roommates and other people living in the unit.
For more information about protecting your rental properties when renting to college students or for assistance with finding tenants, contact a real estate agent.