Last modified on July 11th, 2016
By Alexis Hammond
Roughly 30% of students enrolled in traditional on-campus degree seeking programs look for off-campus housing. Students watch the budget, but aren’t looking for low-quality options that mirror cramped dormitories and cafeteria meal plans. Echo Boomers are looking for convenience and quality of life.
Engaging with Campus Resources
While almost a third of the student population seeks the freedom and independence of living off-campus, some aren’t sure where to start. These students seek help from Student Housing Services representatives. Property managers working with student housing teams have access to thousands of potential tenants.
John Armstrong (University of Connecticut Off-Campus Student Services Director) says as many as 7,000 students attending UConn live off-campus; he expects the numbers to increase. Like UConn, most colleges and universities hold housing fairs during the fall; inviting local property managers and owners to showcase their rental property and introduce themselves to potential residents.
Coordinating with on-campus student housing programs, viewed as authoritative and supportive by most students, lays the foundation for building a strong relationship from the beginning.
Transition from Group Lease to Rent-by-Bed Lease Options
Along with freedom of choosing where to live, students today want freedom to control their finances. Rent-by-the-bed options make it easier for landlords to add another roommate/resident and address issues with tenants in default individually. Here are three reasons that this creative way to capture rent protects and builds relationships.
- Students build credit based on their personal actions and payment history.
- Tenants don’t have to worry about eviction because one roommate violates lease terms.
- Property managers can adjust individual rent rates as tenants renew or when new renters apply.
To solidify a long-term relationship, and cut down on the turnover rate, property managers must respond to needs and expectations. The most appealing apartment spaces have ample cabinet and counter space. If renting furnished apartments, choose apartment-sized furniture that is functional and easy to clean. Overall unit layout is more important to student-apartment seekers today than upgraded amenities on the property. Focus on design features that define personal space and group space clearly.
Make Room for Socializing
Create opportunities for all tenants to socialize with other community residents and friends from work or school. Clubhouses, open patios with grills, and other recreation areas are popular socializing venues. Make an effort to engage with tenants on a personal level regularly. Host a community picnic or designate a day as “Coffee-in-the-Clubhouse-Day” to mingle with residents.
Studies show that transparency is important in every relationship. This is true for the tenant/property manager relationship, too. Bundled, all-inclusive rent packages are popular for students on a budget. They are looking for low fees and consistent billing. If you use bundled pricing, list the base-rent separately. It is acceptable to charge more than a competitor if your property meets or exceeds expectations, as long as you don’t try to hide it.
Building relationships with tenants is more demanding today in some aspects. The most successful property managers look for innovative, forward thinking ways to connect with tenants. Creative lease options, building relationships with campus housing teams and working with professionals to design interior layouts shows prospective tenants their needs are important.
Transitioning to rent-a-bed lease options shows tenants that you aren’t only thinking about your profit margin, but considering their financial goals. Building a website with virtual property tours and online applications fits into the digital lifestyle of most students. Creating relationships with campus teams opens the door for leasing to visiting professors and summer grad students.
Incorporating new solutions for tenants is faster, easier and more efficient with property management software systems that help you streamline property services and administrative tasks.