I met two of my Landlord Law members a while back at one of the Landlord & Buy to Let Shows, and we were chatting generally. They rent to students in London and Plymouth and they were saying how different it was in the two places.
This struck me as an interesting topic for a blog post, so they have very kindly sent me a list, setting out how renting to students in the two cities differ, in their experience. It makes interesting reading. Here it is:
Differences between London & Plymouth
- Property prices in London are double those of Plymouth and hence rents are considerably higher in the capital.
- Students in Plymouth prefer their rents to include bills whereas London students seem happy currently to have rents excluding utility costs.
- Tenancies in London are always for twelve months whereas in Plymouth an eleven month tenancy is the norm.
- Location of property is important in both places. In London students need to be within a ten minute walk of a tube station or on a frequent and reliable bus service route. In Plymouth, students need to be able to walk to uni in less than ten minutes!!
- Re council tax exemption, in London there are many universities falling under different local authorities and hence students have to comply with the relevant council/university method for confirming their student status. In Plymouth where there is only one relevant local authority, when a student enrols with the university, this is automatically relayed to the council and therefore the student does not need to do anything.
- There is probably more of a problem with ‘studentification’ in Plymouth which may become a problem for new landlords entering the market or those wishing to expand their student property portfolios in this city.
- Plymouth university, as a single student source supplier, is far more active in vetting private student accommodation, and every property registered on their student accommodation website is inspected on an annual basis. The only requirement on the London university accommodation web site is to provide details of a gas safety certificate and shortly an EPC certificate.
- Finding property suitable for student shared tenancies is far more difficult in London than in Plymouth. This is not only because of the far higher costs in London but also due to the availability of suitable properties. The vast majority of London freehold houses are more than two storeys and therefore fall under the requirement to be licensed HMOs which is both onerous and expensive. There are far more two storey properties in Plymouth suitable for student accommodation. Whilst licensing may be expanded to include two storey properties in the future, currently this is largely not the case.
- It is our experience that tenants in Plymouth keep the properties in far better order than students in London and professional cleaning at the end of a tenancy is rarely required.
Do you rent to students in different locations? Have you found that there are striking differences? Please post a comment if so, it would be interesting to hear how other cities vary.