At just 35 miles away from London, Southend-on-Sea is an ideal location for property investors. It has a population of 178000 according to the last census in 2015, and this number has been steadily growing since. The purpose built housing sector has been moving away from the capital and gravitating more towards smaller cities surrounding London. Southend-on-Sea is one of these preferred locations.
So why is Southend-on-Sea such a hotspot suddenly? Well, among several other factors, the student body in Southend-on-Sea just does not have enough housing and the situation might get worse in coming months unless more investors set up accommodation facilities. Supply heavily outweighs demand.
Accommodation Needs for Students
If you are a new investor trying to tap into student housing then a piece of advice: go rental. Students almost exclusively prefer rental properties. They are on a budget and cannot really afford anything else anyway so rental property is the hotcake.
Ensure that your units are comfortable at the very least. Students love to live in groups so ensure that your property has three bedrooms or more with enough bathrooms and toilets to cater comfortably for everyone’s needs. Common rooms like the kitchen and the living room should ideally be bigger and able to hold all the tenants at a go.
A secure building in a relatively safe location is obviously a preferred option or students. Apart from choosing a low crime area, you can also put in place security measures to help you protect your tenants.
Universities and Colleges in Southend-On-Sea
Southend-on-Sea is home to several learning institutions. The town has amazing amenities and infrastructure and this has attracted several universities and colleges including the following:
1. University of Essex
2. Southend Adult Community College
3. South Essex College
There are a number of options to choose from if you are considering a buy to let venture. Some of the options available to you include the ones listed below:
- Shared flats
- Studio apartments
- Shared houses
- Student halls of residence
- Student lodgings
- Detached and semi detached houses
The above types of properties are obviously regulated by the town council of Southend-on-Sea. Any investor looking to get into student housing should find out what laws apply and see how to adhere to them. Councils can impose fines for non-compliance.
Useful Statistics for Property Owners
As much as investors try to avoid the student population when it comes to properties that require rental payments, there really is no need for this type of concern anymore. Landlords of student tenants are now asking for guarantors who are held liable in case they fail to remit their rent within the required time period. The National Landlords Association established through a thorough survey that regular tenants actually default on their rental payments more than students do.
Voids are almost inevitable in the student housing business but there are ways of going about this to ensure that your properties have occupants for most of the year. Letting agents are experienced and they have a better scope of how the market works. Get one and have them show you the ropes.
Returns on student lets are at 7 percent which is higher than the 6 percent from regular housing. These percentages are likely to go up as the property market boom keeps getting bigger.
Useful Tips for Letting to Students
1. Pick out the right property
Students love to live close to the city and it is therefore best to find property located not too far away from the town. Closeness to social amenities is also ideal because students love the nightlife. The right property for this type of business is the kind that has spacious common areas like the living room and the kitchen. You could have a small garden or outdoor space just for extra aesthetic appeal.
2. Get accreditation and listing
Learning institutions in Southend-on-Sea and other places in the UK keep lists of credible landlords and properties. As students enrol, they gain access to these lists from the Students’ service bodies as their first options for accommodation. To get onto this type of listing you should consult letting agents in Southend-on-Sea.
3. Furnish for the long term
Strong, durable furnishing is the best kind for student accommodation. Students can get rowdy or engage in rough activities while living in your housing units. Your furnishing should be able to handle this. Cheap furnishing is a facade that ends up costing you more in the long run.
4. Read up on the law
The law stipulates certain condition and standards that very landlord must meet. As an investor it is your duty to read up on these laws and do due diligence to ensure that your property complies. You owe your tenants some level of comfort as they live in your units and it is only fair that you provide it.
5. Getting guarantors for your tenants
Income protection is a very important aspect when it comes to tenancy. It is not all tenants who will default on rental payments but sometimes circumstances cause such situations to occur. Most landlords letting out to students work around this by asking for guarantors who are held liable if rent is not in by a certain time. A guarantor can be a parent or a guardian.
6. Dispute resolution
Student tenants are young and volatile. Disputes are inevitable in a situation where people live in a shared setting. To control how often this occurs, ensure that you hold each tenant responsible for their own stay at your property. Each tenant for example must sign their own contracts at an individual level. Avoid putting one student in charge over the others. This can cause enmity amongst tenants. Every tenant should hand in their rent personally. Communal rental payment arrangements rarely work out as one anticipates that they will.
Southend-on-Sea has a lot of potential with regard to the student accommodation sector. More and more students are enrolling for studies in Southend-on-Sea and this means that the population is going to rise steadily. Investing in the property market now can see you earning returns that you never thought possible.