Student accommodation in Brighton and Hove has become crowded with more student pods built all the time. It is thus important for landlords to be aware that their properties have to meet the student’s criteria.
If you are a private landlord looking to grow or refurbish your portfolio. Or even buy to let investor planning to enter the student property market. It’s essential that you understand what students now expect from their accommodation. Harrington’s Lettings over the years have kept up to date with the most modern trends. With a specific emphasis in student accommodation in Brighton. We do a yearly review to find out what students need especially in these modern times.
We outlined our findings below:-
What are the housing options in Brighton and Hove?
Student properties when you are studying at University can be expensive. Especially, when you are living in Brighton. You will find being a Brighton student that some of the rental and housing options can be expensive. Unfortunately, this is due to the fact that the house prices are quite expensive and landlords therefore look to get the return on their money from their investment. This is also because the amount of accommodation in Brighton is less than what is available for students. We have also recently found that, due to the cost of living crisis, the professionals have started to take student accommodation as well.
Students nowadays have very specific expectations with the kinds of property they want. A recent survey on student accommodation can be found here. These are often different from other tenant profiles such as normal residential. The student market can be fast moving with a high turnover of tenants. It still puts an emphasis on landlords to maintain a positive relationship with their tenants. Also to encourage contract renewals. We always offer contracts to our existing tenants before they come back on the market.
Students value communal living over individual pods
There has been a huge increase in pods in student accommodation in the Brighton and Hove area. Yet tenants still wish to live with either a friend or friends in homes with four or more tenants in.
Large bedrooms are always sought after. Students value large bedrooms more than most properties featured. They also rank living rooms and en-suite bathrooms very highly. It is not about where it is any more.
State of the property
Having a property rented out year on year can cause huge wear and tear to student properties. Especially where they have many occupants. The days whereby these are let without carrying out any improvements are long gone. Students now expect their properties to be not only clean and tidy but maintained on a yearly basis. Including some form of redecoration every four to five years. Students expect there to be modern fittings especially in kitchens and bathrooms. New carpets would also not go amiss.
We recommend that landlords look at their properties before they go back on the market. Ensuring that they are in a high decorative state. We recommend to most landlords that they look at touching up on a yearly basis. Rather than doing it every five to six years to show that you are maintaining your property and you are a good landlord. First impressions of when the property comes back on the market are so important. Trying to explain to a student that the property will be redecorated and re-carpeted when they move in doesn’t always work.
Broadband to be included?
Yes it is always critical now that broadband is included in most houses. We run a scheme where we are able to deal with this for managed landlords. You do get consistent calls with problems with routers, passwords, and there not being WIFI signal in the property. It is heavy on management but we can help you with this. It is important that the broadband is of the very highest speed. Being able to be used throughout the whole house. It is important that you let the students know that they have high broadband.
Students now want not only wifi but fast wifi. The internet is no longer a luxury in the digital world it is a necessity and it has to be fast.
Landlords who provide accommodation are recognising the importance of a pre-installed internet connection, there are too many students complaining about the slow speeds. If it not speedy enough to stream movies, play games or listen to music it wouldn’t be any good to the average student. The University of Brighton and University of Sussex have always stated that it is important for students to have good wifi. A lot of the colleges now use zoom for some of their lectures.
End of tenancy cleaning?
This is something that we brought in a few years ago and works well for students and landlords together. We have a scheme whereby we will guarantee the landlord that they will not receive a bill at the end of the term. It’s included within the rent for the tenant. This allows and ensures that when it comes to the tenants leaving the only item that the landlord may claim for is any form of damages. It enables us to release the deposit very quickly. It also means that the tenants are aware that whilst they do have to still clean during the term, at the end of tenancy it will be dealt with by someone else. If you wish to consider this please do not hesitate to contact us.
Furniture to be modern
The old days of putting old furniture into a student house have now long gone. Students expect much more from their landlord. We recently did a survey in relation to student accommodation and furniture. We found that most landlords have a tendency to use a local supplier who deals with bog standard items. The more modern furniture which is now put in the pods is also expected in houses. We have taken a long time to source a genuine supplier who is now able to help us in this regard. The furniture is modern and comes with a long warranty/guarantee so if there is an issue they will always be able to replace it. Furniture needs to be modern and up to date.
Putting the property on the market as early as possible
In Brighton and Hove the student pods go to first year students. Not necessarily the second and third years who wish to take a house with their friends. However they are now looking earlier and earlier than before. We have enquiries around mid-November onwards from students looking for the next August/September. We find that the large houses will now need to go within this period as the later in the year it becomes the harder it will be for landlords to let these. The Brighton and Hove the student market is changing and landlords need to change with it. It is important that redecoration of any nature is done before the property is placed back on the market so that the property is at its best.
All Inclusive Bills
We have on many occasions looked at all-inclusive bills but it is something that we don’t agree with. Whilst students do like it they also don’t wish to be paying over and above what they should be.
We find it is important that students have the option to choose their own utilities provider. Rather than it being imposed on them. Obviously if it was let out as an individual room then it would be completely different and we would expect bills to be included. However, where it is a house students like to organize their own bills. We have a supplier that we recommend who are able to split the bills for them while they are in the property which they all seem to appreciate.
Obviously with the current cost of living crisis this has become much more important for students. There are various providers out there that will enable you to be able to offer all inclusive bills to students or alternatively recommend one of the companies that can deal with it on their behalf. A lot of the companies will now split the bills for tenants in order for them to be able to have their bills for the whole house split into individual tenants. This is one of the highest priorities when coming to accommodation. This has become more apparent with the cost of living increasing on a regular basis. Not only does it give the students one less thing to worry about but it also means their bills can be capped. A lot of the current suppliers in the student market allow their students to have unlimited usage of various items such as electricity, gas and internet but you need to read the small print.
Students are becoming much more astute as to what they require from their accommodation. Even if you ask any parents who went to university about their experiences they are bound to describe the flustered mornings queuing for the bathroom. It is not surprising now a days that many students are longing for their own private bathroom. Obviously, not all landlords can provide this as most properties will have a bare minimum requirement from the local authority but we are finding a lot more properties are providing their own individual bathrooms.
You will find with the university of Sussex and Brighton that they have halls that have catering facilities so tenants can have meals in their own rooms. Whilst these pods are always popular students now a days seem to want to have more space and experimenting to do their own meals. They might want to have a dinner with friends or try new foods.
In both self-contained studios, shared apartments and student houses students have a chance to realise their freedom. Which is why a shared kitchen is high on expectations.
A lot of them want apartments/houses to now have TV’s which is now one of the most important things to students. Whether they choose to purchase a TV license and use it as a window to the world or prefer to keep it purely for video games and entertainment. It is now an essential device to help new students feel less lonely and keep others entertained.
Ability to customize
Most students don’t like pre-planned cut out for their personal living quarters. Any little touches such as notice boards will go a long way to entice them into a property. We are finding that a lot of students are coming increasing independent, self aware and expressive. The ability to customize and make their space truly becoming their own is becoming more important.
The University of Brighton and Sussex takes security very highly when it comes to accommodation. Most students are becoming much more aware of who they want to let into their building. These can be things such as fob entry systems, intercom, CCTV and manned receptions are becoming attractive. However, this isn’t always the case in HMO houses so it is something the landlords need to consider.
Common rooms and areas
Students like to now have comfy sofas and space to mingle with others. Many students will value these type of things that add a bit of excitement to the casual socialising. Anything in them such as mini cinema or games room can be an added extra. In the post covid world people want to communicate more often.
Location can be everything. However, every single area changes on a regular basis whereby houses near the campus accommodation such as University of Brighton or Sussex would be popular but also houses in the centre of town are now becoming more popular by the year. Whilst it being comfortably placed in relation to their university students want to know they are in the midst of the action. This can include the local bars, restaurants and know they are stones throw from the local night life. Having good transport links to shops, gyms and other amenities is critical. When it comes to accommodation and a social hobby student it is also what side that counts.
There has recently been an increase on what students not only now want to live near universities but they always want to find access to local amenities. These include things such as gyms or an outside space so students can use them to stay fit. Fitness has been a big priority for a lot of students and a gym has become one of the most important things to live near by. Always look to see if there is one near you.
Clubs, Bars and Local entertainment
It seems obvious but this isn’t always the case of what students will be looking for. However, Brighton and Hove had (although it has reduced over the years) a pub for every day of the year. Most of the student pubs are off the Lewes Road and this is a renown student area. There is obviously a huge amount within the city centre and you will never be short of going into Brighton and finding somewhere to socialise.
We understand some people do wish to be by the Campus but often entertainment is a much higher demand.
Good communications between the student landlords and tenants
It is a surprising conclusions in one of the list of what students want but trends change over the years. We find that often students like to have good communication and will more than likely use an email rather than face to face contact or by telephone. It is very minimal that students would ever use Whatsapp to contact you, most people would now look to email.
It is important that communication is always as quick as possible in order to solve problems.
What should students put in emails?
It may seem obvious but your property address. Your landlord or letting agent might have hundreds of properties and you will email them thinking you are the only person they are dealing with but they may get between 300-400 emails a day. It is important you put the address on. Be clear what you are asking. “I have a problem with my boiler can you fix it?” Will probably mean you get a response that will ask a lot of questions. The more information you provide the quicker items can be dealt with.
Electrical appliances and white goods
Often we are asked by landlords as well as tenants what is included within the property. It is always included within the advert what appliances are included. Landlords will normally only supply a fridge and a washing machine. But it is unlikely you will get anything else. You will often go to houses and see kettles, microwaves etc but these are more than likely the existing tenants. So you should always ask or read the advert. It is really important that you understand what you will need when you go to move in.
Furnishings and fittings
What else is included within the property?
There is no hard and fast rule regarding furnishings and what is included. You would normally have a bed, mattress, desk, chair, wardrobe/chest of drawers. But it is not always the case. Adverts have to include exactly what is provided. Do not assume that curtains and blinds are the landlords. It is more than likely that none of these are the landlord and if it is not included within the advert then they wouldn’t be there. Always double check.
If you have a student property in the Brighton and Hove area then please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss the above. Harringtons Lettings have been in the student market in excess of 25 years and keep a close eye on market trends on a regular basis. We are one of the top providers in Brighton and Hove for the amount of properties we have. We have a very large database of students already registered from people we have dealt with other the years. Please do not hesitate to contact us on (01273) 724000.