Are gimmicks really the best way to fill student accommodation?

With November now upon us, most landlords of student properties will have welcomed in a new set of tenants and should have got into the swing of receiving regular rent from all of them.

However, changes to university funding have meant that higher education is more expensive than ever, with many courses costing £9,000 a year in tuition fees alone.

In turn, this has led to fewer student rooms being occupied – and so some buy to let property owners are resorting to unusual tactics to fill them.

According to Reuters, a number of landlords are offering rewards to students who sign up for flats or rooms in shared houses, with driving lessons and iPads up for grabs in some cases.

One student from Trinidad and Tobago told the news provider every person who took up a tenancy for rooms left unoccupied in her block after the start of term received one of the Apple devices.

Other rewards noted include better furnishings within properties, such as flat-screen TVs and Egyptian cotton towels.

With many property owners having focused their investments on London, many of these gimmicks are also based in the capital.

“There are some student housing developments in London that are not at the occupancy that you might have expected. Normally by now everybody’s full,” explained Philip Hillman from Jones Lang LaSalle.

This may encourage smaller landlords to consider offering incentives to fill up rooms of their own that are still standing empty now university classes have started again.

However, it is important to remember that buying things for tenants in this way will eat into profit margins and could distract attention from important matters such as checking references and ensuring inventories are well understood.

It may be better to concentrate on continuing to advertise the property or room and highlight its best assets – gimmick-free.

For example, FreshStart Living’s Charlie Cunningham recently said competitive prices, simple yet practical furnishings and bills included in the monthly rent are among the best ways to attract students, even if they do arrive late in the year.

Article courtesy of Stride

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