If you’re a landlord in London then you’ll have noticed the growing numbers of foreign students looking to rent here. And it’s no surprise – London has 42 universities, the highest number for one city anywhere in the world.
The opportunities for landlords are clear. Latest figures show that there are 108,000 foreign students studying in the Capital each year, a number that’s doubled over the past decade. The most numerous of these are the Chinese at 10,000.
These students can be a landlord’s dream; under pressure to perform by their parents they are studious, quiet, well behaved and usually generously funded.
The international student rental market differs in several ways. While most UK first year students coming to London begin house hunting in late Spring, “international students in my experience arrive in September, stay in a B&B or hotel for a few weeks while they contact four or five agents and start home hunting in earnest”, says Simon Patton, KFH Lettings Manager at its Kingston branch.
“My area is a major student hotspot because Kingston University has over 20,000 students based at its two campuses, plus there’s St Mary’s in Teddington, then Kingston College, and also Roehampton University all nearby.
“We’ve noticed how the international students often rent differently. While most UK ones are looking to rent with friends in shared houses after their first year and want to keep the costs down, overseas students often arrive by themselves or in pairs to study and tend to rent that way too. And they also prefer modern apartments with concierges and, if possible, a gym.”
Esmee Jones, Regional Lettings Director at KFH, says that many international students start enquiring as early as May because, after a first year in halls, they scramble to secure a privately rented property for the next academic year before they leave to go home for the summer.
“And landlords should remember that many colleges have international courses that start in January and so we often see a rise in demand then too,” she says.
Also, if you’re considering taking on international students then you’ll discover a new set of rules when signing them up. Most landlords ask for six month’s rent in advance and in some cases 12 months, as well as offering contracts that often run for a minimum of a year.
“Landlords are often worried that if a student were to quit their course early and disappear back to their home country then there would no way recoup the rent owed, which is why these rental advances exist and the contracts are longer,” says Simon Patton.
But Kingston is not the only major hub for international students. Other KFH branches that have an unusually high influx of students each year include those in St Johns Wood, Bayswater, Holland Park and Fulham.
KFH also has established relationships with the accommodation offices of many of the capital’s big education hubs including the London Business School, University College London, London School of Economics, University of Westminister and Imperial College.
To find out more about letting your property in London to students, visit www.kfh.co.uk/landlords/