In last week’s article, Part 1 on Student Housing in Hawaii, I mentioned how many cash flow investors overlook student housing because of misplaced ideas of crazy students running around and damaging their property. In today’s Part 2, I want to dispel that idea and give you some basic rules on capitalizing on this great renter pool right in your own Hawaii backyard.
5 Tips for Renting to College Students
- College students are, for the most part, responsible and growing adults. Treat them as such and you will be rewarded with happy tenants who will not want to be forced into finding somewhere else to live.
- Do NOT visit the house everyday, every other day or even every week. They have parents — they don’t need you. You are their landlord and nothing more. As such, they have a right of privacy. My terrible landladies (see Part 1) would visit all the time, completely unannounced. I don’t know what made their home so bad they had to hang out at ours, but it made all of us feel uneasy, unwelcome and a bit like lab rats. Respect your tenants’ privacy.
- If you are renting out a house, decide upfront if you will rent the entire house as one unit or if you’ll rent individual bedrooms. If you’re more of the hands-off landlord, then opt for the former.
- Allow overnight guests. This is another trick my former evil landlady threw at me at the last minute as we were signing the lease (and I had decided against a previous room elsewhere). Want your tenants to feel unwelcome from the start? Want to let them know right away that you don’t trust them? Then don’t allow overnight guests. However, if you accept the fact that people tend to do things like date and have relationships (I know, completely ridiculous, right?) and the occasional visitor from the mainland, then just let it happen. It’s OK to be clear that you don’t expect it to be abused and that you’ll be monitoring the utility bills, but don’t ban it outright or you’ll be looking for new tenants. See Point #1.
- Lastly, check the latest laws on renting to students under 21. Don’t risk getting in trouble over alcohol. If you’re renting to undergrads, then you might have a mix of under and over 21-year olds. Just be careful. If your tenants are graduate students, then you won’t have any concerns.
For more information on Hawaii’s laws regarding landlord and tenant responsibilities, visit:
What tips do you have? Any experience in this matter? Leave your comments below!