Student Property Edinburgh-The market for renting properties to students in Edinburgh is booming. Edinburgh University continues to invest heavily and attract students from all over the Globe while Edinburgh’s other Universities; Napier, Heriot Watt and Queen Margaret are performing well and pulling students to Scotland’s capital City. The recent Edinburgh by Numbers report by Edinburgh City Council outlined that there are over 55,000 students studying in Edinburgh which creates a huge demand for housing in Edinburgh and rental properties suitable for students fly off the shelf each year as student scramble to get the best properties in the best locations.
HMO License-The main things a landlord must consider before making their property available for student lettings in Edinburgh is whether the property requires an HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) license. This is required where 3 or more unrelated people will be living within the property (ie 3 friends). The HMO regulations comprises a long list of requirements and minimum standards required which can be a minefield to navigate. The HMO guidelines refer to minimum room sizes, kitchen space, living space, fire safety installations, noise-reduction installations, sprinkler systems (for two story properties) and many other intricacies in place to ensure the smooth running of a student property (for the landlord, tenants and neighbouring properties).
If you’re considering buying a property to let to students in Edinburgh, send us the floorplan before you do so that we can sanity check it against the HMO guidelines before you part with your hard-earned cash.
Applying for an HMO license can be a long-drawn out process and the application can take 4 months+ to gain. You cannot rent your property out to more than 2 people until you have your HMO license number. This can cause landlords of student properties real headaches as the property may often sit vacate for the first 3-4 months while the landlord waits for the council to grant the license. Not a very commercial view from the council and hardly conducive to helping landlords solve the shortage of housing on the private rented sector however unfortunately it’s just the way it is!
It can be beneficial if you buy a student property in Edinburgh which already has an HMO licence as, provided you apply for an HMO license in your name within 28 days of purchasing the property (and you pass the council’s ‘fit and proper person’ checks, the HMO license in place will continue to run (even if specific elements of the property do not comply with current guidelines which were tightened up in recent years, including minimum room widths, provided an HMO license is in place the council will continue to grant the license…….just don’t miss any of your deadlines for submission otherwise you’ll have to submit a new application and the property will have to comply with the latest legislation). Sounds simple doesn’t it? No; well we have plenty experience with student property in Edinburgh so come to us if you have a student property or are considering buying one and we’ll keep you right.
Furnishings– furnishings for student properties don’t really differ from furnishings for professional lets. Students in Edinburgh can be a demanding bunch so do appreciate the nicer things in life (!) however it’s balance of providing good quality furnishings with choosing something that is fairly inexpensively replaced if the item of furnishing suffered any damage in the future. Students do appreciate a desk and chair in their bedrooms and they would expect basic kitchen items including a kettle, toaster and a microwave. We don’t normally recommending supplying TVs and similar items as these are just another thing to replace if broken and included in the inventory (most students tend to have their own) and, of course, don’t forget a mattress protector to prolong the life of those beds; some students ‘forget’ to change their bed linen regularly.
Timings – as it stands, enquiries for student property in Edinburgh start coming in as early as November/December, for the following academic year. Students are so keen to get the best property in the right area that they seem to come in earlier and earlier each year. We tend to market our properties around February/March each year (for entry dates that summer) and normally conduct group viewings, taking applications from all interested parties then sending these over the landlord, with recommendations, for them to ultimately chose the tenants they would like to proceed with. Even with the majority of student properties in Edinburgh letting before the Spring and the manic exam period each year, there are still students searching over the summer months, perhaps due to a change of circumstances (a late decision to do a post-graduate degree) or perhaps just because they prefer to stay out of the February/March bun fight each year. It will be interesting to see how the marketing of student properties will be adjusted when the new Private Rented Tenancies comes into play (we’ll start to see these tenancies coming through from 2019) where tenants only have to give 28 days’ notice to vacate and so landlords may not be able to commit to future tenants over the winter as they won’t know their current tenants’ plans until late in the day.
Inventory – We can’t stress enough the importance of a good inventory especially for student properties. It’s essential that you have an accurate record of the condition of the property (including photographs) so that you can put a good case forward to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, to deduct money from the deposit to cover tenant damage caused during the tenancy, if necessary. We outsource inventories in line with Tenancy Deposit Scheme best practice guidance to make sure we have the best possible case for dealing with any deposit disputes at the end of tenancies; A good inventory makes life easier for everyone involved!
The student property market in Edinburgh is booming. Rents in the prime areas are going for £500+ a room and it seems that tenants will pay a premium to be with their friends so the more bedrooms in the flat the more tenants will pay for their bedroom. Poor mum and dad! Umega Lettings manage a portfolio of around 700 properties around Edinburgh, about a quarter of which are student properties so if you’re looking for a company to manage your student property in Edinburgh or are considering buying one and want to run the property past an expert before buying one, please do get in touch and we’d love to give you our input and tell you some tales of our experience dealing with student properties in Edinburgh!