College Housing

3 Replies

I am looking to get input/experience/opinions of tapping the college rental market?

Any information is greatly appreciated and I am going to thank you in advance.

My favorite tenants on the planet are law students.  If you have a law school nearby, go talk to the housing director and ask if you can advertise on their facebook page, or website or at least on their bulletin board.

Once I discovered law students as tenants, the angels sang!  The housing director for the law school at the university next door, was happy to put on their facebook page any openings I ever had.  

I also told my tenants that if I rent to someone that they refer to me, I'd give them a $100 rent credit.

Tenants called me often to ask about openings.

Plus, students planning to come to the area, will see the ad and call and ask to rent when they arrive - AKA the golden "waiting list."

Target first year law students, and most of them will stay at least 3 years, and even 4 years, if they plan to take the bar exam in your state.

Someone else here on BP said medical students are also golden.

They study all the time, they're really quiet, they spend most of their time in the law library.  And, they have parents who pay the rent on time.  And they usually don't want to move for the summer, only to have to find housing again.  

Law students also can't afford to get into trouble, because in order to be admitted to the bar, they undergo background and credit checks and have to be approved by the bar, and explain any lawsuits, etc.

The worst thing about law students is that they will be so exhausted they will write out the rent check and forget to give it to you.  I just sent a mass text every month the day before rent was due - voila! they thank me for the reminder.

I would occasionally be asked if they could sublet their place for the summer.  How I handled that, was I gave them written permission to have a long-term guest over the summer.  And my original tenant was responsible to get the rent to me every month.  And if there were any problems, the guest would be kicked out.  I did not have any problems.  Usually, they sublet to law students who live on campus, but have to move out during the summer.

Now, undergrads are another story altogether - they will cause you nothing but misery and damages.  But, it's easy to target the grad students.  Just advertise only to grad students.  You can't put an ad on Craigslist and say you will only rent to a grad student.  But, it is not against the law to only advertise at a grad school.

Anyway,  even if you have a huge house you want to rent out, with a bunch of different roommates, (mine were tiny studios), if you can rent to a house full of law students, and I've heard the same is true for med students, you will have minimum problems.

Good luck!

@Nathan Gilbo

We have several student rentals ranging from SFRs to multi-units to a furnished rooming house whose primary clientele is international students.

Our experience does not align with that of @Sue K. .  We find neither medical nor law students to be more, or less, responsible than any other graduate student or older student pursuing their second degree.

Undergraduate students need not present you with "misery and damages".  It is all in how you screen candidates and the expectations you set and maintain.

If you search for student rentals here on BP, you will find a wealth of threads discussing various aspects of renting to students.


Are you looking to do SFH or multi unit? Are you looking to manage the property yourself or have a property manager in place?

The college market is a great one in my opinion.  One key component, as mentioned above, is screening tenants.  Finding a niche student market is a great idea.  I'll leave you with 3 suggestions and wait on your response to my questions.

1. In the beginning, account for more maintenance expense due to the learning curve with student screening.

2. Students these days prefer non-traditional communication ie text message, Facebook message. (Not so much email or phone calls.)

3. Set clear boundaries from the start regarding rules for the properties.  Assume they know nothing.  Some things to include: how to shut off the water to the house, where the breaker box is, etc.

Good luck.

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