We at RentHello believe that students make excellent tenants, and this is one of the reasons why we focus on the student rental market. We find that most students are quite serious about their studies and they crave somewhere peaceful to unwind during a hellish midterm week. Not only does this mean that most students make responsible tenants but that they will be in need of rental housing for the duration of their schooling, which is generally about 4 years, and what landlord doesn’t love a repeat renter?
One of the easiest ways to attract students to your rental property is to be flexible with your lease length and offering leases shorter than 1 year. Even though most students do intended to attend the same post-secondary institution for their program length there is always a little uncertainty for a student about their summer break.
Many out of town/state/province students will want to return home during their summer semester break. Other students might be interested in pursing internships during the summer making it hard for them to agree to a 12 month lease as they are not sure where they will be in 9 months time. If you are willing to offer a short lease term, you are less likely to be left with a tenant who is trying to vacate the property early and there is always the option for the student to extending the lease.
Also, it is common to see landlord’s charging slightly higher rent rates for the shorter leases. This is due to the conveniences a shorter lease offers students and the higher probability that the rental property may be vacant for a period of time due to the shorter lease.
Shorter leases also allow for tenant to dip their toes into the summer rental market, where even shorter leases can be offered again at even higher premiums. 3 or 4 month rentals are great options for summer semester students or students with summer internships or co-ops. Weekly or monthly are great vacation rental leasing opportunities.
Shorter lease are great as they benefit both sides of the landlord tenant relationship and if you find the right tenant where the shorter lease works they might just be willing to come back at the start of each school year. So offering 3/6/9 or 4/8 month leases may seem like more work then the basic 12 month lease but the possibilities to make more rent are there!
If you are still not sure about offering shorter lease considering listing the property at a slightly higher rent price and include in the listings description that a reduced rent rate would be considered for 12 month leases. Or alternatively, allow your tenant to sublet the space as this makes it the tenant’s responsibility to find someone for the time they wish to vacate.
Regardless of the length of lease you decide to offer, it is ALWAYS the landlord’s responsibility to do their due diligence and screen each and every tenant. Even if it’s a shorter lease, your rental property is your investment and it’s always smart to protect what’s yours.