Student housing is a unique type of rental property that comes with a unique set of both benefits and challenges to manage. Student housing units often bring in premium rental rates (since they are often leased by the room or “bed”) and leases are typically secured by parental cosigners who guarantee financial creditworthiness. However, these premium rates are also associated with frequent turnover, roommate disputes, and the occasional unruly “party tenants”. Below we take a deep dive into everything you need to know about managing student housing properties.
Student Housing Property Management Defintion
Student housing property management is a specialized type of rental property management that deals with the comprehensive oversight of student housing properties such as off-campus apartments.
Student Housing Property Management Services
Although there are different types of student housing, they all share the same goal of housing students and providing various features and amenities to meet student-specific needs. Maintaining harmony and synchrony in the relationship between the local educational institution and the privatized rental housing provider is vitally important, since both parties depend on each other. Maintaining safety, security, building quality, and disciplinary controls are all key points for student housing stakeholders – Students, their parents, and the surrounding community. Below we take a look at some of the most common student housing property management services:
- Resident Customer Service
- Resident Event Planning and Hosting
- Facility Marketing and Advertising to Attract Prospective Residents
- Manage Renewals and Unit-Turns
- Revenue Management and Budgeting
- Accounting (Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable)
- Staff Development and Human Resources
- Property Safety and Rule Enforcement
- Property Maintenance and Upkeep
What to Look For in a Student Housing Management Company
As either an experienced or prospective investor in student housing properties, you might want to be as hands-off as possible when it comes to your rental property. But, that doesn’t mean you should cut back on your property management efforts. In fact, finding a great student housing property manager is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure your investment is a success. Here are a few things to look for when you’re searching for a student housing property management company:
- Find a manager that understands the local student housing market. The student housing market is unique, and it’s vital to find a property management company that understands the nuances and can offer services that the property needs. For example, they should know how to effectively market to students and their families, as well as how to deal with the challenges of managing a property occupied by students (noise complaints, parties, etc.).
- Work with a company that has a demonstrated track record of success. You don’t want to be a guinea pig when it comes to your investment, so it’s crucial to find a property management company with experience in the student housing market. Ask them about their experience managing student housing properties, and look for a company that has a proven track record of success.
- Locate a management firm that offers a comprehensive suite of services. From marketing and leasing the property to maintenance and repairs, your property management company should be able to handle every aspect of your student housing property. This will not only make your life easier, but it will also help to ensure that your property is well-maintained and operated efficiently.
- Get a student property manager that’s responsive. When you have a question or concern, you should be able to get a quick and helpful response from your property management company. This is especially important when it comes to property maintenance and repair issues, as you don’t want your tenants to be left in the dark (or, worse, living in unsafe conditions).
- Hire a firm that charges a fair fee. You don’t want to overpay for property management, but you also don’t want to cut back on quality. Look for a company that charges a fair fee for their services, and be sure to get a detailed breakdown of what’s included in their fees.
Remember that hiring a property manager is only one option- you can certainly manage the property or properties yourself, assuming you’ve got the time and know how. With that said, if you take the time to find a great student housing property management company, you’ll be well on your way to a successful investment.
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Student Housing Property Management Fees
The fee to manage student housing properties usually ranges between 7% and 10% of the gross rental income, in addition to a typical one-time fee (i.e. lease-up) for each new lease signed. Since most student housing properties are leased “per bed” (i.e. per room), there can be substantially more leases written than a regular residential multifamily apartment of similar size. Agreements to manage student housing properties can be based on “fixed fee” where fees are based on a fixed amount regardless of occupancy, or more commonly “cost plus” where the property management company is paid a base fee plus additional incentive fee based on the amount of revenue brought in. Regardless of the management fee structure, it is best to ensure that the management company has adequate experience with student housing properties.
Student Housing Management Software
Student housing management software helps coordinate the many various aspects of managing student housing properties. Common features of student housing management software includes rent payment collection and accounting, maintenance submissions and tracking, and tenants and lease management.