CASE STUDIES: THE NEWBREED OF STUDENT LANDLORDS
Nigel Tapp, founder of chartered surveyors and property consultants Nigel Tapp and Co, in Leeds.
Nigel has bought conventional buy-to-lets around suburban Leeds since 1997, but three years ago he began investing in student lets in Huddersfield.
He now has seven student properties
He says: “I looked at buying student lets in Leeds at first but I thought the market was overheated in Headingley and it was too competitive. I think York, Leeds and Sheffield are intense too, so I looked at Huddersfield.
“It has a well-regarded university with 15,000 students. The student let market is more stable and property values are lower than in Leeds, so you are able to invest more easily.
“I look for houses with large, equal sized bedrooms and places I can maybe extend.
“Then I completely refurbish them to make them suitable for students.
“They are very discerning and so are their parents. Parental influence cannot be overestimated.
“They have a big role in choosing accommodation.
“If you offer better quality, you can get higher rents and attract better tenants. If you rent a pigsty then tenants won’t take care of it.”
The yields for his student lets are between 10 and 15 per cent and Nigel self-manages all his properties.
“I have very high standards and I want to maintain them and that’s one of the reasons I manage my own properties rather than using a lettings agent.
“There are more regulations than with my other-buy-to-let properties, but the return you get is well worth it.”
Naveen Ahmed is a director of Park Lane Properties, in Leeds. The family business started 30 years ago and has a large portfolio of student lets in Leeds and runs lettings agencies.
Naveen says: “Leeds attracts a lot of students, especially from the south of England, and I can’t see that changing.
“But what has changed over the past few years is the amount and standard of accommodation.
“There is a lot more purposebuilt accommodation now and standards have really improved. Students are very discerning.
“In the old days, they were thrilled if there was a double bed and central heating, but now they want a designer-style sofa, fancy wallpaper, plasma TVs and a jacuzzi bath and they are willing to pay extra for these things.
“The range of rents for students varies from £55 a week for something basic to £100 for an en-suite room in a purposebuilt block.
“Historically, students house share with friends from their second year and in Leeds the favourite locations are Hyde Park and Headingley and these areas are well-supplied with property, but I think quality can be more important than location.
“So investing in highquality property with contemporary decor and spacious bedrooms in Burley or nearer to the city centre could be a good option.”
He adds: “Student lets offer fantastic returns and they have always outperformed the rest of the market, but they are more time-consuming to manage and you do get more damage.
“There is also a lot of legislation you have to comply with.
“Often its the first time these young people have been away from home.
“Some have never used a vacuum cleaner and they are clueless when it comes to security.
“They leave doors and windows open making them easy targets for burglars.”