As you can read in our current asking price statistics (HERE), the new student season is approaching. Many landlords are completely aware of the academic year start in September and they even prepare for it but less rental apartment owners think on the second semester in February as a secret second bonus time. Despite the less awareness even this period of the year promises a bigger amount of young flat seekers. Even thought many of them are looking for mid term (5 months) accommodation, their arrival influences the whole market.
The number of possible questions can be infinite: should I rent out my flat for students? Did I miss this student season already or no? How should I prepare my empty flat for this season suddenly?
1. Can I rent out my flat for students?
When we answer this question with a YES, we can not guarantee that exactly you will have a good experience with your own student tenant. We couldn't promise this for any other tenant type either. Renting out an apartment is always risky. But in return many student tenancies ended up well and many working professional tenancies ended up badly. You have to choose the person carefully before signing a contract: ask them questions, let them talk and listen to them, pay attention to your impressions. Every sensitive topic should be mentioned and the most important ones should be even added to the rental contract.
Many owners are concerned about the house parties in case of students. It's a unique feature in the case of foreign students that they don't have so many house parties. For many nations the Hungarian night life and the Budapest bars and pubs are quite cheap and so they prefer to party outside the apartment.
The cleaning should be something to talk about. If you are afraid that the students wouldn't clean their room well enough, you can offer them to utilize a professional cleaning service once a month. Many of them are happy for live with this option so that is not a big monthly expense but this way they can save time and energy and have and present a cleaner apartment.
2. What type of flats are the students looking for?
From studio apartments till 7 bedroom apartments we have seen examples for everything but students are mostly hunting whether one permise (studio or "garzon") apartments or community flats with more bedrooms. The ones moving alone are comfortable with a single room (living room and bedroom together) despite the different experiences of the home country. Therefor the one bedroom apartments are not so popular student choices because they would have to pay more for them. Those are picked more preferably by existing student couples. The apartments with two separate bedrooms but without a living room are also less popular. Even a community room without a window (big entrance hall) or a huge kitchen with dining makes a significant difference. Most popular ones are doubtlessly the apartments with 2-3-4 bedrooms and an additional complete living room. There would be bigger demand on apartments with minimum 4 bedroom or even more but the supply in this category is tiny. Many big student teams who start to look for big apartments end up ripped into two or more smaller companies after a certain time.
Further important features are the furniture and the household appliance. The unwritten laws of this topic can be different in every country but in Hungary in the last years / decades the demand adapted that the supply here consists of lot of completely furnished and equipped long term apartments. For many fresh students would be problematic to take care of own furniture and sell it at the end of the tenancy, they prefer to have everything in the apartment and choose accordingly. As a good landlord, you don't necessarily have to put the lats teaspoon into the apartment in advance but it is much better to be open to the idea. Such things are too small investments to loose a sympathetic possible tenant on them. In return the bigger pieces of furniture should be on the ad pictures already (like desk, wardrobe closets and beds).
Of course not all the furniture styles are the same way successful. Even the details play important role in the competition. Contemporary, stylish furniture is useful which precedes the taste of the young people. Such apartment find their tenants sooner. Paying attention to the small detail is a grateful component in this case.
3. Where are the students looking for an apartment?
The new ones are looking in the areas of which they have heard good things from others, for example from previous or more experienced students. Sometimes the stereotype factor influences the reality causing such situations that some people are looking only in the 5th district for accommodation while being afraid that in every other areas may man eating ancient Hungarians live. Others think that the infrastructure is only inside the Grand Boulevard good enough and missing such semi-hidden gem areas like the Újlipótváros in the 13th district or the newly built parts of the 9th district. It's an interesting fact that seemingly less students prefer to find their apartments close to their universities than close to the big city life. A good example is that many foreign BME (Buda side) students were rather pointing on the busier and more vibrant Pest side on the map in need for an apartment than to the calmer Buda not knowing that 11th district can be the perfect student area. In such situations the responsibility of a real estate agent is huge to orientate such requests also to the less known areas were the client's need still can be fulfilled completely.
4. In case of more tenants who has the responsibility?
In case of more flatmates, the flat is shared, the rent is shared but is also the responsibility shared? According to most of the rental contracts there is a joint and several liability which is a good thing but these can also mean then in case of trouble every residents can refer to the other. It's subservient for the landlord to choose a "boss" among the tenants who is always reporting the problems, delivering the messages and paying the rent. This can be especially useful because so the landlord doesn't have to run after every single tenant for the money: this can be handled within the apartment walls. The person of the "boss" can be changed during the tenancy, more important is to always have one.
5. If the future tenant has a special needs before renting, how should I react?
As we have already mentioned in point 2., in Hungary it became standard that student apartments are completely furnished and equipped. If your apartment is advertised this way, it should mean something. If the flat inspector has ideas, questions or requirements of further equipment, it shouldn't be considered as an immodest act. No landlord should react grumpy in such a case, only consider the need. It is not a universal law where the phenomenon of a furnished apartment is starting or ending. But the double bed, the studying desk and the wardrobe closet are very common needs.
When it comes to electric household appliance the at least medium size fridge, the oven, cooking plate, the microwave and the washing machine are the usual standard. In a higher class apartment (above 500 euro rent) also the dishwasher can be a default addition. The dryer is not a very common thing in the Hungarian household. As for the TV: it is not so important for students nowadays. The internet connections is also harder and harder to predict as the mobile internet spreads. If there's no currently in the apartment you should wait for the actual tenants and let them choose.
If there is a certain request from a flat inspector it should be considered carefully. "Is this person asking me to change a really worn out piece of furniture (like old bed or old carpet)? Is he asking for something that many tenants would ask for or find useful (like dishwasher or a bigger closet instead of a too small one)?" In such situations the investment is good for the apartment on the market and it can be used by more tenants in a row. The matter of taste is a different case. Changing the carpet to an other color one can be unnecessarily if next year the new tenant would prefer the older one. Saying yes to such a questions isn't worth the effort. Of course when something seems to be directly denied by many flat visitors it is better advised to change.
We hope that we could give you good tips and answers for a start. Of course this is just the beginning. There are many more subtopics in the matter of student flat renting and Erasmus program that we could answer. If you liked this post, we'll show up with similar content in the future.
If you have an apartment for rent as well before the new semester, here you can see how you can advertise it on ApartmentsofBudapest.com: