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BiggerPockets

Questions about odd rules for college student tenants?

15 posts by 8 users

Mark Hu

Real Estate Investor from Huntington Beach, California

Mar 06 '12, 09:00 PM


I've heard many former students tell me some odd rules in apartments run by universities. One is that student are given individual leases even if they are roommates. Two is that the management can decide to 'remove' a student roommate from a lease for good cause.
In regular rental business I've never heard of having individual leases for a group of roommates sharing an apartment. Also I've always heard a landlord should let roommates sort out their own issues, that it was bad business for a landlord to try to decide which roommate was good and which was bad. So what gives? Are these odd rules true, and if so why do university associated apartments follow these rules?



Ed O.

Real Estate Investor from Statewide, Missouri

Mar 06 '12, 09:14 PM


I'd bet these rules vary tremendously from place to place.

I think from a collection standpoint, you're best to have one lease with multiple people guaranteeing it - so if one kid flunks out, etc., everyone on the lease is on the hook for the bill, so you get paid regardless.




Steven Hamilton II Verified Moderator

Investor from Lake Villa, Illinois

Mar 06 '12, 09:31 PM


@Mark Hu,

The leases you are referring to are for complexes run by the school itself. The university is just placing the students in that "dorm room"(the apartment). Your lease should always include everyone living there. You want as many people liable as possible.

-Steven the Tax Guy



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Mark Hu

Real Estate Investor from Huntington Beach, California

Mar 07 '12, 07:31 AM


My wife's cousins is in a bad roommate situation, and her roommate has a separate lease. Several of my wife's friends, recent college graduates, have agreed as students they all had separate leases even when living together. It is strange to me too, but it sounds like a general rule in school complexes.



Steve Babiak

Real Estate Investor from Audubon, Pennsylvania

Mar 07 '12, 09:43 AM


The university in the roommate/dorm situation is not operating apartments, but rather a rooming house. Not unusual to use different approaches for each of those. In a rooming house, you want to be able to part ways with any single roommate without having to oust all others; in an apartment, you want all occupants to be obligated to perform to the lease terms.



Sean Meyer

from Austin, Texas

Mar 07 '12, 10:11 AM


One tricky aspect is how the grounds are divided on a college campus. Most times if it the property sits on the college's large amount of land, their administration will have the final say. Check to see how far the university's hand stretches out.



Kyle Meyers

Residential Landlord from Indianapolis, Indiana

Mar 07 '12, 10:31 AM


There are privately owned student rentals that also do individual leases with each tenant. They assign a room to each student and the kitchen and living space are common area.



Mark Hu

Real Estate Investor from Huntington Beach, California

Mar 07 '12, 07:55 PM


That does make sense.
What about what my wife's friends are saying about being able to 'take a student off the lease'? In a rooming house can the manager personally remove a roommate like that who is behaving badly?



Mark Hu

Real Estate Investor from Huntington Beach, California

Mar 07 '12, 08:00 PM


Although in the lease my cousin in law is responsible for the entire rent for the 2 bedroom apartment. This doesn't sound like a rooming house situation to me.



Mark Hu

Real Estate Investor from Huntington Beach, California

Mar 07 '12, 08:08 PM


I will see if I can get some information from the university. Thanks guys.



Ed O.

Real Estate Investor from Statewide, Missouri

Mar 07 '12, 09:18 PM


Mark, so long as it's university property, this may be of some help.

I went to a pretty strong academic school and heard of several stories from people I trust about how parents calling the school got some outrageous results, grades being upped, etc. I'm not sure of all of the details of the situation or your desired end result, but a phone call from the student's parents to the right person could go a long way. My school feared upset parents more than just about anything.

The only caveat to this: if the roomates selected eachother to live with, I don't see them feeling too sorry for her. If they were assigned, then you're on to something.

Let us all know how it shakes out.




Mark Hu

Real Estate Investor from Huntington Beach, California

Mar 08 '12, 10:55 PM


I will.
We are also guarantor for this apartment!



Joel K

Real Estate Investor from Bloomington, Indiana

Mar 09 '12, 09:20 AM


Mark...I make my student renters sign one lease (for reasons mentioned above). I do get separate checks for rent, but I make them send in rent at same time as roommates. One lease per unit seems to work best. Good luck!



Bill Patterson

Real Estate Investor from Portage, Michigan

Mar 09 '12, 09:52 AM


Originally posted by Mark Hu:
I will.
We are also guarantor for this apartment!

Mark,
This is sounding more like a typical student rental situation. If each tenant is responsible for the total apartment rent, then there must be a "joint and several liability" clause in the lease. If that is the case, then there must be one lease for the apartment. Most landlords do this as well as have a guarantor for each tenant. That way, they have the best chance of collecting. That being said....going back to your original post, the landlord should not be able to remove a tenant and place a new tenant in the apartment without the other tenant's approval. If the tenant violated a major clause in the lease such as drugs, firearms, etc. that would be cause to remove at least them, and with joint and several liability, all of the tenants. The remaining tenants would have the option of picking up the "ousted tenant's" share of the costs or finding a new tenant themselves if the whole apartment was not evicted.

I'm still not sure if this is a University owned apartment or a private apartment.

Good Luck,
Bill



Mark Hu

Real Estate Investor from Huntington Beach, California

Mar 12 '12, 05:14 PM


The property is called Piedra del Sol, the land is owned by the university (SDSU) but the management there is independent.
The management had the roommate sign a sublease, which is annoying. The Peidra del Sol management basically told me they will not penalize the roommate (her school record) at all unless my cousin in law defaults, and then they both get punished together.
What kind of system is this? Any roommate with no guarantor has no motivation whatsoever to pay rent.



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