Renting to College Students?

What you need to know

If you live in a town that hosts a college campus, such as Fresno, California, then you are well aware of the demand for rental units these students create. College students make up a significant portion of renters in towns such as these, and can be an excellent tenant choice for many types of homes and apartments. Most college students are in the market for clean, affordable rental units, and, unlike other renter groups, college students often value proximity to campus and affordability over other aspects such as upgrades and finishes. If you are a property owner and you are considering renting to college students, here is some valuable information to help you. 

Most college students are looking for a clean, liveable space that is close to campus, and in which they can sleep, study, and get their work done. Premium upgrades, modern appliances, and open floor plans are not as important to this group as they are to other renters. Students value the following aspects of rental properties the most:

  • Proximity to Campus: Most students spend a good portion of their time on campus- attending classes, studying, and participating in extracurricular activities, so it is understandable one of their highest priorities is to be as close to campus as possible. 
  • Walkability and accessibility to public transit: Many students forgo car ownership while attending college, and so they want a rental that is not only walkable to campus, but also to shopping, dining, and entertainment. Many students also rely heavily on public transportation or bike share programs, so they want a rental unit that is near bus routes, rental hubs, etc. 
  • Affordability: Most students don’t have significant monthly income and live on a limited budget, so affordability is key for these renters. If you are interested in renting to students, you’ll want to make sure your unit’s rates are on par with fair market rent, but also affordable to students. You can check what the rates are for similar rentals in the area to get an idea of what a good rate for your unit would be. Also, determine if you’re willing to allow roommates; many students choose to split the price of a rental with roommates to keep costs down and save money for other expenses. 
  • Laundry: For most students, going to a laundromat is a serious hassle. If possible, provide an on-site washer and dryer, whether it’s in-unit or in a common area shared between units. On-site laundry will make your rental much more appealing to students and more desirable than other units with no laundry.
  • Wifi: To appeal to students, consider optimizing your rental by providing quality internet service with options for providers and packages. Students need high-speed internet to get their work done, browse the web, play games, and stream movies, TV, and music. Your rental will be more appealing if it comes with wifi. For extra appeal, consider including wifi as a bonus amenity and either offering it for free or wrapping it up in the price of rent. 
  • Safety: Safety is a priority for student renters, as well as their parents (who may well be paying their rent). Make sure the unit you offer is safe and secure, by including good exterior lighting and deadbolts, as well as a secure area for packages and mail.

If you are interested in renting to students, rest assured that these renters- while young, and often times inexperienced- can make great tenants! Students want a rental that is clean and convenient, affordable and easily accessible. Follow the guidelines we’ve outlined here, and you will have no problem attracting students to rent your unit! If, however, managing your rental property is more than you wish to handle, consider contracting with a property management company. Property management companies can handle everything from finding and vetting tenants, collecting payments, handling emergencies, arranging maintenance and repairs, and more. SAN MAR property management is a leader in the Central Valley with nearly 40 years in business.  

SAN MAR property management offers professional, hands-on service and extensive experience and knowledge of California’s Central Valley housing and rental market. SAN MAR specializes in the management of single family properties, multifamily communities, home-owners associations, and commercial and residential real estate sales. With a team of approximately 70 employees, including real estate agents, property supervisors, resident managers, leasing consultants, maintenance and custodial personnel and administrative office staff, SAN MAR can take care of all your property management needs. At SAN MAR Properties, our motto is “Sincere Pride in the Service We Provide.To learn more about SAN MAR, visit our website at, or call (559) 439-5500.