The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Investing in Student Housing

  • by Lyle Patel
  • 2 years ago
  • 1


Student housing is an important part of a student’s life at University. At UBCO (Kelowna) or wherever there is a institution of higher learning, there will always be thousands of students that need a place to stay.  With enrollments rising every year, students need off-campus accommodations now more than ever.

If you’re thinking about investing in student housing, we can help. We specialize in off campus student housing management.

The Good

Marketability – University campus living brings with it very vibrant communities. They attract restaurants, pubs, cafes, and nightlife. In addition, they tend to have high walkability scores. The University drives growth – therefore, you won’t have to spend much time on marketing your rental properties since the neighborhoods sell itself.

Huge Rental Pool – Every year, there is a new group of students that need to find housing.  Enrollment is always increasing at UBCO with a lower ratio of campus housing being built.  This constant churning of students and new staff members propel the ongoing growth. Therefore, there will always be a large pool of potential renters available for your student housing investment.

Cash flow – Since there is always a high demand for these rental properties, you can continually charge standard market rates, have a high occupancy rate, and enjoy the positive cash flow – the hallmark of a sound investment.

The Bad

Property Wear – Some students can be very irresponsible when it comes to managing their living spaces. Expecially the first few months of First year students, who are feeling a sense of liberation as they are finally on their own to do everything their parents said not to.  During their wild parties, beer pong and drinking sprees, your student rental property could suffer a lot of damage.

High turnover – Students will take breaks or graduate at some point. Their stay could be a few months or even years, depending on their program.  In some cases, they may even have to terminate their lease early. Having to continually advertise your rental property, screen applicants, and prepare for new tenants can consume a lot of time and resources.

Not as passive as advertised – If you are looking for an investment that is truly passive. Student housing may not be the right investment for you.  You can earn a passive income, but it is management intensive.  Student rentals need to be monitored and maintained on a regular basis.  On occasion, you will deal with noise complaints, tenant conflicts, or broken appliances. Not to mention, you will have to play match maker in many instances as most private student housing has 2 or 3 bedrooms and students don’t always come in as a group.

The Ugly

Many investors looking for passive income don’t understand the dynamics of student housing and try to manage the properties themselves.  In most cases, management of a single unit is quite straight forward.  If you implement systems and processes, you can easily streamline your efforts and gain a better grasp of student management.  Qualifying students and matching them up with suitable roommates is an arduous task, but necessary to being a successful property manager.  For an inexperienced landlord, student management can get ugly, really fast.  Tenant issues can cause friction and have a roommate leave before the end of the rental term, making it difficult to fill in the gaps.  The next thing you know is your asset just became a liability because it no longer cash flows.

Cash Flow is king when it comes to investing in property.  If you struggle with managing your property


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