By: Sean Baker


Tags: student rental, investors, investment properties, income property, investor tips, best practices, pro tips, rental properties,


At the mention of the words “WE OWN STUDENT RENTALS”, we normally get the same reaction.  “Oh…….student rentals?......” followed by the usual questions and comments surrounding the negative perception that student rentals carry. 
My wife and I got into the student rental game in 2012 when we anticipated that her sister was going to attend school and needed a place to live at a reasonable price. Our first student rental had some growing pains in the beginning… dirty tenants, a dated house and low rents. 
We had to get this place in shape as my wife’s sister chose to move to the house and go to school at Fanshawe College. (Yay! Dream was realized!) We needed to make it something that we were comfortable with her living in.  We started that transformation and gradually turned it into something that we would personally live in or put our own kids in.  The transformation had such a positive impact that it became the standard we set for the rest of our portfolio moving forward.
Here are some best practices that we have learned in order to get your student rental renting at top dollar, quickly, with less stress:

  1. RENOVATE!!  Don’t be cheap.  Put some money into the home initially in order to make it a space that you would either personally live in or put your own children into.  Afterall, it is an “INVESTMENT” property. If you get the home to at least an 8 out of 10, you are ahead of the game.  Some flooring, paint and stainless steel appliances go a long way.
  2. FURNISH!! Not the entire home, but the common areas.  Don’t get stuck with unwanted furniture that was picked up off the street by a struggling student!  Furnish the common areas with a couch, a small table for eating, some décor, TV stand and a TV.  If you set the tone for the house, they will respect the space. **Pro tip… put your own blinds/curtains up and prevent sheets and flags to be hung up in the windows.
  3. UTILITY CAP!! If these young adults have not paid for utilities before, they don’t understand conservation.  Cap out the utilities at a reasonable rate for the amount of people and size of home.  We do CAP our detached duplex at $350 per month for Hydro and Gas.  This keeps your tenants accountable and if they have parties/overnight guests, it doesn’t compromise your budget.
  4. CLEANING SUPPLIES!! In the beginning, we noticed a common trend. Not everyone brings cleaning supplies.  Supply a broom, dust pan, vacuum, Swiffer, pads and cleaning solution for Swiffer (if you have hard wood and laminate), Windex, All purpose cleaner, and toilet bowl cleaner.  Set the tone from the beginning.  “The common areas are everyone’s responsibility.  I expect that everything is kept clean as I’m supplying everything for you except for the paper towels.  Treat the home with respect and I’ll continue to make sure that the home is well taken care of on my end as well.”
  5. SMOKE/CO2 DETECTORS/ FURNACE FILTERS!!  Regular checking/changing of these items will enable you to check in on the property regularly without making it seem like you are “inspecting the property”.  If you give ample notice about going in to change filters or do your detector tests and see the place in shambles, you can quickly nip it in the butt and remind the tenants about your expectations and that it’s EVERYONE’S responsibility to clean the common areas.
There are a ton of other tips and tricks we have learned over the years to help you run a successful student rental, but these top 5 will definitely get you moving in the right direction.  For more information about Student Rentals or to book a consultation, reach out to us at info@bakerrealtygroup.ca

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