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Landlords in Wales – The Rise of Purpose Built Student Accommodation

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Being a landlord in Wales is becoming a more and more complex business, however now landlords have something else to worry about, and this isn’t coming from any government.

The rise of Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) is adding to the competition in the student letting market. Most would argue that competition is a good thing and a way of improving standards, making it more difficult for criminals, without new expensive regulation.

However, student landlords need to be careful not to be complacent, as more landlords are finding it difficult to fill their vacancies for the new academic year.

Traditionally, students spend their first year in university halls of residence before moving into a property of their own, normally with a few friends. However, more students are looking at PBSA’s, which are often tall blocks, some ex-offices, which house a few hundred students in one building with some including gym memberships and even onsite cinemas.

Some landlords have found it more difficult to rent out their properties to students this year, especially in Cardiff where a number of PBSA blocks have been sprouted up over the last year. This means that, perhaps for the first time in years, traditional student properties are sitting empty for a prolonged periods of time, perhaps until the next term or even the next year.

If you’re a landlord in this situation, then you have a few choices with what to do with your properties and it’s up to you how you run your business.

But before making any big decisions, perhaps it might be worth having a look through the “What Students Seek” 2016 report published by utilities provider Glide. The report highlights some of the biggest concerns for students looking for properties, and could provide a handy guide to help bring your property into line with the competition – without installing a cinema room.

The report found that two thirds (67%) now have bills included in their rent, which is the highest proportion ever recorded by the study. Added to this, students (64%) are also saying that double beds are an important factor while 40% of those surveyed will only consider rooms that have their own ensuite. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, 85% of students viewed having fast reliable broadband connection as an absolute necessity.

Landlord don’t need to go to excessive lengths to attract the student market back to their properties, and can rule out having to install a cinema room in the basement.

The truth is that gym memberships and cinema rooms come at a cost, that although is included in the rent, will put some students off PBSAs. Traditional student accommodation is in general much cheaper than PBSA, however if you can’t go any lower on the rent, then perhaps it’s time to have a look at the report and consider improving the property – that is if you want to keep up with the competition.

To read the full report click here.