The Benefits (and Risks) of Renting to College Students

Last Updated: October 10, 2013By
by  on October 9, 2013 in Leasing

Summer is over and for property owners located near a college or university that means a potential flood of new tenants. This influx can come with different challenges than you may be used to. Here are some ways to enjoy the benefits and minimize the risks of providing apartments to college students.


  • Many young people can’t find jobs and so are returning to school. This is creating a greater need for college housing, both on and off campus.
  • Rents in a university town tend to be higher since they can be pegged to room and board fees at the college.
  • Since parents normally cover rent payments, it’s usually safe to rent to college students.
  • Student renters are less fussy. Their expectations are not as high as non-student tenants, so they may accept not having the most modern appliances or fancy décor.
  • They may pay in advance. It’s sometimes easier for a parent to just pay you for a semester upfront than deal with funneling money to a student monthly in the hope they forward it to you.
  • You may be able to advertise on the university site. That’s where students looking for apartments go first when they need off-campus housing.


  • Many students are on their own for the first time. Lack of control and immaturity can be a bad combination.
  • Students have little to no experience living away from mom and dad’s nest where everything was taken care of for them.
  • Students are tougher on apartments than normal tenants due to the short-term nature of their stay.
  • Certain institutions are known as party schools, increasing the risk that some students may do damage to their apartments.

Minimizing Risks

  • Have your attorney craft a special lease tailored to renting to college students. It should include co-signers as well as clauses on noise, maximum occupancy, and damages/repairs.
  • Add both parents to the rental agreement as co-signers since minors can’t enter into legally binding contracts. Consider having parents co-sign even if the student isn’t a minor.
  • Specify rules that may sound unusual but are probably necessary. They would include staying off the roof as well as banning candle burning, fireworks or fires, and charcoal grills. You should also prohibit BB guns, paintball guns, or weapons of any kind on the property.
  • Have the student pay the utilities. They should see the result of having the air conditioning going all day or leaving the heat turned on full blast.
  • Conduct regular tenant screening on students and parents. Students can be difficult to screen since they won’t have much of a credit history. That’s why you should screen the parents as well.
  • Find out from the schools if your prospective tenant has been evicted from a dorm.
  • Hire a third party to monitor the building, similar to a Resident Assistant in a college dorm. Offer free rent for them to keep an eye on things for you.

The abundance of college students can provide a spike to your business in the fall. If you take the appropriate precautions, it can be a profitable revenue channel for you.

Read more from Appfolio & Stephanie Vernon 


Email Subscription

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Apartment News Publications. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact