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Business News: How to: student digs


“By hook or by crook, Brighton Accommodation Agency have become one of Brighton’s leading student letting agencies, running a portfolio of nearly 200 houses, and so I think we can speak with some authority on what makes a great student house. If you are looking for an investment property, then look no further. With rents ranging from £95 to £110 per week per room, and tenancies running for the whole twelve months of the year, you can get a fantastic return, but you must be aware that they are high maintenance properties – like anything in life, you will have to work hard to get the big bucks, and these properties are no different.

First things first: location is always key. Even though we have always managed to let every single student house, the first ones to go are always those in the key positions. For us, this is anything in and around the Lewes Road area, or close to our office. This is the first area to go.
Secondary areas are Elm Grove and Hollingbury, and the third area is Coldean and Moulscoombe. You will get the highest rents in the first area, and then, intuitively, it will drop slightly for the others. 

Next you must make sure that it is furnished correctly. We always recommend that good quality furniture is installed – this would include a 4ft bed, wardrobe, desk and chair in each room.

Anything over and above that should be down to the student. Plumbing should be provided for a washing machine, however we recommend that you do not provide one. They break down regularly, and between the students they can club together and buy one to be delivered; they will have a warranty and they can always sell this on at the end of their tenancy to recoup some of the money.

We suggest a simple white colour scheme throughout, making it easier for either the students or your contractors to repair between tenancies. For our landlords we insist that they have a week’s void period every year – these properties have a lot of traffic, especially the 6/7 bedroom properties, and you will have maintenance to do both during the tenancy and in the void period.

Of course, you will need your HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) Licence. Over the past three years we’ve overseen hundreds of licence applications, and they can be a bit complicated, but if you have any concerns do give us a call, and we’ll happily come over and give our opinion on what will bring your application up to speed.

From a lettings point of view, the bigger the bedrooms, the easier it is to let. But most houses have bedrooms of various sizes, and the students are left to tier the rents themselves. Remember, you are letting the house as a whole unit, not individual rooms, and thus it does not matter to you who pays what for each room – we collect the rent for the house in one payment.
The tenants all sign one, jointly and severally liable assured short hold tenancy agreement, and they each have a guarantor as well. They are liable for the utilities, and for the upkeep of the property, but also you must remember that for a lot of the students this is the first time they been away from home, and so they can be higher maintenance than normal tenants.

Student tenants are generally great, but they do need to be nurtured through the first few months – this is why it’s important to have an agency to help deal with unforeseen situations that can arise very regularly.

If you have a student house, or are thinking of investing in one, please do call us. We’ll be very happy to talk you through everything.”

Brighton Accommodation Agency, 74 Lewes Road, Brighton, BN2 3HZ 
01273 672999 /