Renting to international students

Renting to international students may require a slightly different approach, but it can pay off for landlords in the long run.

According to Universities UK, in 2020-2021, there were 605,130 international students studying in the UK. So, if you plan to rent out student housing, it’s important to understand the rules surrounding renting to international students.

Before you advertise your student housing, you must make sure that you know the risks involved and the relevant rules and regulations to protect both yourself and the students that you rent to.

However, once you have got to grips with the ins and outs of renting to international students, most landlords find that they are an agreeable and profitable type of tenant to work with.

In this article, we will explain the criteria for overseas students to rent housing in the UK and what you need to know before letting your property to international students.

Can international students rent in the UK?

Overseas students can rent a house or room in a house, providing that they have the ‘right to rent’.

Criteria to be eligible for the right to rent in the UK include:

  • Valid immigration permission to be in the UK – eg. a student visa
  • A citizen of the UK, the European Economic Area, or Switzerland
  • Time-limited immigration permission – e.g. a short-term student visa
  • The UK government has granted ‘permission to rent’ without a visa

What you need to know before renting to international students

All the usual rules and regulations surrounding renting to students also apply when renting to international students.

Student landlords should familiarise themselves with the Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) regulations and ensure that the property is safe for the occupants. This includes installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and arranging an annual gas safety check and electrical safety checks.

As well as all the usual, there are a few additional things that landlords should bear in mind when renting to international students.

These include:

Right-to-rent checks                     

It is important to note that checking a person’s right-to-rent is an important responsibility that must always be completed no matter whether your potential tenant is a British citizen who has never left the country or an international student from overseas.

All landlords should ensure that they see original documents proving a tenant’s right to rent and live in the UK before letting their property to them. You should also ask to see a letter from their university confirming that they are registered on a course there. It is a landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the documentation they are presented with is valid and genuine. They must also take copies of the documentation to keep in their records.

If you have not rented to international students before, then checking unfamiliar or foreign documentation can be a little daunting to begin with, but there is plenty of government guidance available to help with this.

The government’s user guide to right-to-rent documents is available to view online.

You can also request a home office right to rent check online on the government website.

Sometimes, an international student may only have the right to rent for a limited period. If this is the case, it is the landlord’s responsibility to perform a follow-up check either 12 months later, or just before their right-to-rent is due to expire.

Mitigating financial risk

Usually, student landlords request that students provide a guarantor. Their guarantor is a person (usually a parent or guardian) who agrees to pay any outstanding debts for the student if they are unable to pay. The guarantor acts as a safety net for the landlord.

While it is entirely possible to ask international students to provide guarantors, if the landlord then needs to use the guarantor, following this up can be difficult when the guarantor lives overseas.

Because of these problems, it is not uncommon for landlords to request that international students pay their rent upfront. Many landlords ask for six or even 12 months of rent payments to be paid in advance to help to mitigate risk and protect their income.

Consider international student’s housing requirements

Sometimes, international students have difficulties when trying to arrange utilities and broadband for a rented property because they do not yet have a credit rating in the UK.

Offering to arrange utilities and broadband and include all bills in the price of the rent can be a very useful service for international students.

It may also be difficult for international students to bring lots of household items with them, so making sure that your student accommodation is well furnished and includes more than the basics can make your accommodation more attractive to international students.

How do international students rent rooms in the UK?

Most international students apply for housing before they arrive in the UK. They usually do this with the help of their university or an estate agent that specialises in student accommodation in the city they will be studying in.

While they may not be able to come and view the house in person, they will usually view photos and sometimes video tours of the property online before deciding they want to live there.

Here at Mistoria Estate Agents Liverpool, we help local landlords with student housing in Liverpool to find the right tenants and maximise their rental property’s earning potential.

Our team of estate agents provide student landlords in Liverpool with a range of professional and tailored property management solutions, including:

  • More exposure for property listings.
  • Accompanied viewings for prospective tenants.
  • Tenant reference checks.
  • Check compliance with all relevant rules and regulations.

For more help or advice with renting to international students or finding tenants to fill your student letting in Liverpool, get in touch with our experienced team here at Mistoria Estate Agents Liverpool by calling us on 0151 317 5383.

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