Tips to Reduce Risk for Student Housing Operators

Posted by: TheGuarantors on September 30, 2022



It’s an unprecedented year for college housing operators.

Dorms are overflowing with students returning from remote learning, sending more than usual into off-campus beds. But students feel the squeeze between rising housing costs and inflation, making it harder for them to afford the cost.

And despite the increase in potential renters this year, it’s no surprise if you still have vacant beds after the September rush. You need more than warm bodies to sign leases — properties need protection and rent must be paid all year.

Fortunately, with products like rent and deposit coverage, along with some clever leasing strategies, you can capitalize on this market and convert more students without any potential risks of income loss. 

Let’s dive in. 

Students in the stats

On the offset, the increased demand for off-campus housing means lower vacancy rates with minimum marketing effort. Even before the pandemic, 20% of freshmen lived off campus at the 316 national universities. Near some schools, more than 70% bunked in nearby rental housing. 

But off-campus housing is increasingly difficult for students to afford: 

And with inflation reaching 8.3% in August, student dollars don’t go as far as they once did. According to a recent study, high rental costs make the inflation rate closer to 11.3% for Gen Z renters

But operators know there are more potential pitfalls. Take, for example, the dropout rate: As of June 2022, 24% of freshmen dropped out in their first year, and 33% of undergrads left before finishing their degree. For an operator, this increases the risk that these students will break their leases.

The student renter profile

Whether you’re an operator, or just a parent, you’re familiar with the specific set of challenges student renters pose: 

  • Students, particularly freshmen, typically have no income beyond their student loans and no credit score established yet
  • They often lack savings for security deposits
  • These young adults may not have the experience and maturity to maintain a rental 
  • Some may want to break leases to leave for the summer, study abroad, or drop out of school
  • Many, such as those from abroad or whose parents are unable to help, don’t have anyone to cosign for them

Student leasing without the risk

We get it. College students are … well, college students. 

Keeping their specific needs in mind, below are tips on everything from avoiding damage from Friday night parties to securing your income stream. 

Rent coverage

From not having a cosigner to lacking a credit history, there are many reasons why students may be denied leases. Fortunately, with industry-leading rent coverage from TheGuarantors, none of them matter.

With a Lease Guarantee, we’ll serve as a student’s cosigner. This way, you can approve more renters while protecting yourself from defaults, lease breaks, holdovers, and vacancies, all at no cost to you.

Deposit coverage

The cost of textbooks, tuition, back-to-school clothes and Ramen noodles piles up, before adding a security deposit on top.

Rather than paying a deposit up front, with Security Deposit Replacement from TheGuarantors, students can pay one small fee to cover a traditional security deposit. 

This leaves cash in students’ pockets to make rent throughout the year and ensures that you’ll have the protection you need to cover damages.

Plus, in most states, our deposit coverage is effective for the life of a tenancy, meaning students only pay once even if they rent their beds again next year.

Our results speak for themselves. Consider B.HOM Student Housing, for example. The company has more than 75 years of experience managing 30,000 beds nationally near 26 universities across the country. During the pandemic, when states enforced lockdowns and many schools switched to remote learning, we secured $8 million in rent and deposits for B.HOM, helping the operator sign more than 1,200 additional leases without any of the risks associated with doing so. All at no cost to the operator.


More useful tips

When it comes to college students, you really can’t take too many precautions. There are many ways to establish boundaries and set them up for success.

Some additional leasing tips we recommend include:

  • Kids today are tech-savvy. Consider offering an online maintenance request system so it’s easy for them to care for your property
  • Offer free Wifi. All students need it, and one less bill frees up more cash to make rent
  • Tailor contracts to their age group, such as by including quiet hours and noise restrictions 
  • Let them have roommates. They’ll split the rent and hold each other accountable 

Leasing to students was risky even in the old normal, and we’re here to help you navigate the challenges in the new one.