Can international students rent a house? Advice and Guidance for Landlords
Letting to students can be highly lucrative, especially international students, as they are often from wealthy backgrounds and willing to pay rent upfront.
The UK is the second most popular global destination for international students after the US. According to Universities UK, in 2018/19, 485,645 international students were studying in the UK
If you’re thinking of renting to international students, read on to find out what you need to know.
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As a landlord, you must check your tenant’s immigration status to make sure that they have a right to rent in the UK.
You will need to ask to see their student visa and a letter from their university confirming course registration. It is your responsibility to check that the documents are genuine. You should take a copy of each document and record the date when you carried out the check. Visit the government website for more information on how to carry out right to rent checks.
What if the tenant can’t produce the right document/s?
A tenant may not be able to produce the right documents, but that doesn’t automatically mean they don’t have a right to rent. You can use the government’s landlord’s checking service to ascertain whether the tenant has a right to rent.
What if the tenant only has a ‘time-limited right to rent’?
When carrying out your initial checks, you may discover that the tenant only has the legal right to rent property in the UK for a limited period. If this is the case, you must carry out a follow-up check either 12 months following the previous check or just before the permission deadline to stay in the UK is up (whichever date comes first).
You must notify the Home Office if your follow-up checks reveal that the tenant no longer has the right to rent property in the UK.
What happens if you don’t comply?
Landlords who rent their property to someone who is not legally allowed to rent in the UK can receive an unlimited fine or be sent to prison.
Protecting your income
Student tenants can be difficult to reference using the standard process because they do not have a regular income and have usually come straight from living with parents. UK students are generally asked to provide a guarantor, usually a parent responsible for the rent if the student fails to pay. This is difficult for international students because it is challenging to take legal action against someone who does not live in the UK. Also, international students usually don’t have someone in the UK who can act for them. When renting to international students, it is common to ask for 6 or even 12 months rent in advance to protect you from the risk of rent arrears.
Quality of accommodation
International students are often from wealthy backgrounds and can afford high-quality accommodation. Ensure your property is up to scratch, as most will expect modern, clean and low-maintenance properties close to their university and social life. Fast broadband is a must!
Provide more than the basics
International student will arrive with little more than a suitcase of clothes and their laptop, so make sure you provide all the furniture, soft furnishings, technology and kitchen equipment they will need. This will be more than is typically required in student accommodation as UK based students will generally be equipped with a kettle, toaster and bedding.
We can help
If you are thinking of investing in student property, we can offer advice on the best locations, help you find tenants and carry out the right to rent checks and tenant/guarantor referencing on your behalf. Contact us today.