As the school year draws to a close, many students are beginning to look for a place to live either for the summer or for the next school year. Because of their temporary nature, rental properties are the norm for college students. While these college kids may get a bad rap, they deserve an equal opportunity to find housing.
Because they are often full-time students without a steady source of income, student-renters come with a different set of circumstances than your typical renter. The parameters of your tenant verification are noticeably different.
Here is a guide with tips to make dealing with a student-renter easy.
As we’ve mentioned in other posts, your normal tenant verification system should include a credit report, background check, and eviction history. However, when dealing with a student-renter, things are a little different.
Because they are young, most students have little to no credit history. While Realtors will usually have a strict credit limit, you may want to be a little more lax in this situation (or ask for a co-signer - more on that in a bit). A criminal background check might have more weight when verifying a student tenant.
In addition, a hard credit inquiry will do additional damage to the already fragile credit of your student applicant. Make sure that the credit report you use in your tenant verification uses a soft inquiry in order to preserve what credit score they may have.
If the student does not have a steady source of income to pay the rent, more often than not they will use a parent or guardian as a co-signer. In this case, you would treat the co-signer like a typical renter when you go through your tenant verification process - maybe even a little more strict.
Make sure the co-signer knows how much responsibility is carried before they officially apply. "Out of sight, out of mind" is definitely not the case in this situation.
Application Collection: Universal and Online Rental Applications
"No smoking, no pets, no students," are included in more landlord terms than you’d think. Apparently, the fear of wild parties is too much for some to handle. Whether that is fair or not, it is important to know that a college student might have to apply to multiple properties before getting approved to one.
If you are representing a student, you should use a universal application to save your client both time and money when applying to multiple properties. In addition, it should be an online rental application as well.
Among other things, Millennials are known to be tech savvy, therefore an online rental application would be both ideal and easier for them. While scanners might have been considered hi-tech in the '90s, that is hardly the case today. Trust us on this, no millennial is going to want to use a scanner.
The Bottom Line
College students can be an excellent source for word-of-mouth referrals. If you do your job correctly and satisfy your clients, you could become that school’s unofficial real estate agent for students looking for an apartment.
While there may be a stigma surrounding college students, not everyone at State is there to party. As with all clients, an online rental application paired with a thorough tenant verification will make representing students a breeze.