Renting to overseas students – what’s to know?

by Ed Firmin

Posted on Thursday, October 8th, 2015 at 10:00

As a student landlord, there may come a time when one of your prospective tenants is an overseas student. If that’s the case, what advice can I give you about letting to international students, what additional procedures should you put into place, and what else should you consider.

The Immigration Act 2014 introduced legislation which requires landlords to check their tenants’ right to rent a property in the UK. They have to check the documents provided, and to keep a copy of these documents. This has, so far, only been rolled out in the Midlands, but it will be expanding Nationwide.

When it comes to a student, the tenant’s passport and visa will usually be sufficient to prove this, provided the visa covers the entire length of stay that the tenancy agreement is for. Landlords should also really ask for a letter from the university or college confirming that they are enrolled in a course for the academic year. In addition, the Home Office also has an online system for landlords to check whether the tenant has a valid visa application.

So, those checks aside, what else should a landlord consider? Well there are practical things to think about, such as your tenant being able to view the property. These days with Skype or Facetime, it’s a lot easier for a prospective tenant to get an idea of what the property will look like.

So that’s ok. But what about credit checks? Well there’s good news. You can still do credit checks on international students, so that box is ticked.

Some landlords require a certain number of months’ rent upfront as an additional guarantee, or perhaps a guarantor that’s based in the UK.

Most, however, just require the student’s parents to act as guarantors, just as in the UK.

Finally, it’s worth taking into consideration what course the student is doing as well, to give you an idea of what their character is like, most likely, they’re having to pay thousands more than UK students, so the course is important to them.

I’ve been reading a few forums about the topic, and the vast majority say that they’ve never had any problems with international students. So, I would say that as long as you ensure that all the ‘i’s are dotted, and the ‘t’s crossed, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take on an international student.

If you’d like to talk to me about taking on an international student as a tenant, and what processes are involved, please contact me here, I’m more than happy to offer advice.

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