Today’s students want the best. Landlords can no longer get away with providing dated, scruffy furniture and fittings. With the increasingly competitive market, ensuring your property stands out with good quality, attractive furnishing and decoration will give you the best chance of securing the best tenants. Bedrooms should have double beds wherever possible (small doubles are fine). Each bedroom should have a sturdy desk and office chair, wardrobe or hanging space and chest of drawers. There should be a communal living space with somewhere to sit and eat and comfy sofas for watching TV. Recent research from Accommodation for Students focus groups shows that most students socialise regularly in their own homes, with watching TV, eating together and having friends round occurring several times a week.
Nevertheless, there are a number of reasons why letting to students is a good idea. The usual white goods should be supplied in the kitchen; cooker, fridge-freezer (one for every four students), microwave and washing machine (preferably a washer-drier, to help reduce the likelihood of condensation mould from piles of damp washing distributed around the house). Ensure that the kitchen and bathroom both have good extractor fans, both are in constant use and condensation mould can build up very quickly, especially in old Victorian houses with solid walls. Kitchens should be in neutral modern designs and bathrooms should have white fittings, and don’t forget to provide a mirror. It’s not necessary to provide small electrical items, such as kettles and irons: students will bring their own and then you are not responsible for repair or replacement when they go wrong. One exception to this should be a vacuum cleaner. It’s a false economy to buy a cheap one, spending a bit more on the ones with the friendly red faces is worthwhile as they are pretty indestructible!
Bathrooms are always an issue in student houses, they seem to be in constant use and frequently leak. On the whole if you have the choice of a bath or shower, go for a good quality shower cubicle. Purpose-built pods will cause the least problems as they are completely moulded with no gaps between tray and tiles where deteriorating sealant or grout can cause leaks to the floor below.
Do not provide small items such as crockery, cutlery, pans, vases, picture or other paraphernalia you would want in your own home. It’s not a bad idea to provide cleaning equipment such as mops, buckets, bins, dustpan, if only to encourage you tenants to keep the property clean.
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