How to Attract the Best Student Tenants

ByLaws August 30, 2017

Like any other tenants, students come in all shapes and flavours. That’s why we hear from just as many enthusiastic landlords as those eager to share horror stories about renting to students. If you’ve got student apartments for rent, there are several easy things you can do to attract good tenants and ensure you’re not stuck with the best party pad on the block.

Students looking for housing want something close to school, convenient to shopping, and affordable. There’s not much you can do about location, but here are some ideas definitely worth considering:


  1. Provide Laundry Facilities

Initial purchase and installation may seem costly, but a house or apartment that comes with a washer and dryer grabs attention. Students are notoriously busy, distracted, and inconvenienced by having to do laundry. Without a vehicle, dragging dirty clothes to a public facility can be a huge chore. If you have the space and the plumbing, install the appliances and expect to have a much wider selection of applicants.

  1. Provide Bike Storage

Putting a small shed with a padlock in the drive or backyard means students won’t be hauling their bikes in and out of the apartment. You’ll be saving the paintwork, doorframes and floors while providing the convenience and security many students are looking for.

  1. Provide Maintenance Check-Ins

The number one complaint from student tenants is that landlords don’t repair broken appliances or fixtures in a timely manner. In addition to defining “timely” with your tenants before they move in, you can offer to do a maintenance check every couple of months. This gives you a chance to assess any damage or potential problems, and reassures the tenant that you’re concerned with their comfort. They may decline, but making the offer will be appreciated by good tenants who care about the condition of their home.

  1. Provide Adequate Security

You don’t have to go to the extent of installing security cameras to make tenants feel that your house or apartment is a safe space. Particularly when renting to young women, you can expect prospective tenants to check the locks so make sure they’re solid. Also ensure ground-floor windows can’t be opened from the outside, and that there’s no easy way to climb to a second- floor balcony. Exterior lights should be motion triggered, particularly if access to the door is through a driveway or alley. If tenants are going to be sharing space, there should also be adequate locks on the bedroom doors.

  1. Provide Extras

Everyone likes to think they’re getting something for nothing, and students are no exception. Anything you can provide, that goes above and beyond the four walls, will be appreciated and draw better tenants. If there’s a backyard, give them a picnic table. If you’ve got extra blinds or curtains, install them in the home. Deck chairs on the balconies, a BBQ, or even some extra mirrors are all things that will add to the appeal of your property. They don’t have to be new, expensive, or elaborate. These things simply send the message that you care for your tenants and want them to be happy.


The trick to finding good tenants is having lots of applications for your vacant student housing. If you exercise due diligence and check references, you’ll find the responsible, reliable people you’re looking for. Bad tenants get good housing when there’s a lack of competition, so the more you do to improve your property, the more likely you are to attract excellent tenants.


Student Tenant Turn-Offs

Landlord, Student Housing, Tips August 28, 2017

Student Tenant Turn-Offs

If you’ve got a student house for rent, you may not be looking forward to the last few weeks of summer. While everyone else is focussed on taking a break or measuring the height of their tomato plants, you’re probably looking for the first real sign of Fall. It’s got nothing to do with the colour of the leaves or the flight of the geese – it’s that first cluster of students roaming the neighbourhood in search of off campus housing.

If you’ve been in the business awhile, you’ve probably shown that student apartment or house a hundred times. But can you still pull yourself away from the familiar walls and fixtures and see it through the eyes of your prospective tenants? If you’re having a hard time filling a vacancy, you might want to think about some of the more common reasons student tenants get turned off.


  1. Locked-in 12 Month Leases

This is a tough one but many students simply can’t afford to rent for the summer months if they know they’ll be going home or to another city for work. Some landlords offer a discount rate for the May-August period in a 12-month lease, figuring even half the rent is better than nothing. You also won’t have to deal with the people living in the house for the summer who claim to have “sub-let” but who you won’t meet until bad things start to happen.


  1. Heat and Hot Water Not Included

This is a real negative because not knowing what these bills will cost makes it very difficult to budget. Students are leery of assurances that paying your own utilities can save you money, and fear a whopping bill when the furnace comes on. The best form of reassurance is having past bills available to demonstrate exactly what they can expect to pay in addition to the rent.


  1. Security

Particularly if you’re renting to women, poor security is one of the principal reasons tenants won’t sign after viewing a house or apartment. Many won’t rent a ground floor apartment, especially if there are no additional security measures on the doors or windows. Lighting is a big issue, and a poorly lit parking area or dim hallway is a definite turn-off. If the washer and dryer are in the basement of a student house, you’ll see the interest fade if the room is dark or unfinished. Think about what you’d like to see if your daughter was moving in, and take the necessary steps to make the home safe and secure.


  1. Tenants Were in Bed

Seriously, it happens all the time and nothing is going to have new tenants heading for the door faster than seeing the old ones still in bed. Make sure your existing tenants know that you’re conducting a showing and walk through yourself before welcoming your viewers. Even if you let everyone know you were coming, your new tenants are going to identify with the old ones and assume you’re just barging in. It’s also a good idea to buy a few Tim cards and entice the old tenants to go have a coffee while you’re showing the rental. It’s always better to show a place when the people who live there are nowhere in sight.


  1. The Place is a Mess

Prospective tenants understand that a landlord can’t be responsible for the cleanliness of the residents, but mounds of dirty dishes and a toilet that’s never been scrubbed are really off-putting. Think about offering your tenants a rebate on a portion of their last month’s rent if you are able to lease the place before they leave. There’s nothing like a financial incentive to encourage them to clean up a little before each showing.


  1. Dirty Appliances

If the house or apartment is vacant, there’s no excuse for lingering grime. Don’t show the place until you’ve scrubbed out the fridge, stove and bathroom. Cleanliness can make up for a multitude of sins and sends the message that you care about your property.


  1. Reputation

Bad student landlords used to get away with all kinds of questionable practices because they figured their tenants were leaving town and nobody would ever know. Not anymore. Social media has taken the lid of anonymity and if you’ve gathered some unfavourable reviews, deserved or not, be prepared to deal with the fall-out. If you know that new tenants are being turned off because of something they’ve “heard”, deal with it up-front during the showing. Google your rental address from time to time to see whether there’s any negative commentary going around. Identify the problem, resolve it if you can, and provide clear answers to the inevitable questions.


You can’t do much about your student housing location, but you can avoid turning people away by trying to see the place as you would for the first time. If you spot something cringeworthy, you can bet your prospective tenants will too.

Ten Things to Look for in a Great Student Home

Tenant June 23, 2017

Off-campus housing can be a little hit and miss. No matter where you’re going to school in the Fall, you’re going to face a mountain of vacancy ads, notices, and offers from landlords who provide housing for college students. It’s like trying to pick out shampoo at the grocery store. You think you know exactly what you’re looking for, but the sheer number of choices makes you tempted to grab the first bottle and make a run for it. Unlike shampoo, however, you can’t flush your lease down the toilet when you find that you can’t stand the smell. Here’s a checklist to keep you focused.
1. Will I get to class on time?
With enough planning and forethought, the answer to this question will always be “yes” if you’re within the city limits. But get real. If you need to take three buses and roll out of bed before the birds are chirping to get to school, you’re probably not going to make it in time for the start of the lecture. Plus, you’ll be far less likely to use the other amenities, like the library or the gym, if getting there is just too much work.
2. Can I walk to the store?
If you don’t have a vehicle, getting groceries can be a chore. If you can’t walk to a grocery store, you’re going to be eating a lot of pizza and whatever else you can have delivered to your door. As appealing as that may sound right now, your wallet and waistline are both going to suffer if you don’t have easy access to real food.
3. Where’s the laundromat?
Having an on-site facility for doing your laundry is gold. Find a place that has a washer and dryer, either in your place or on the premises. Even if you have a car, humping your dirty underwear around gets old really fast, and the laundry will mount to unmanageable proportions as you keep putting it off.
4. Is the room well located?
Don’t just look at the size of your future bedroom. Big is fine, but not great if you’ve got the common bathroom on one side of you and the kitchen on the other. If you’re sharing a place, the location of your bedroom is crucial. You don’t necessarily want to share a wall with your roommate, but that may be preferable to being next door to the living room if the TV is going all night. Look out the window. If there’s a bus stop on the other side of your pillow, think again.
5. Are there any knobs missing in the kitchen?
This is the litmus test. If things are broken or missing before you move in, the chances of them being fixed or replaced once you do are practically non-existent. A good landlord will have the place looking its very best when showing to new tenants, so you can tell a lot about your future landlord by the condition of the property on your first visit.
6. Does the toilet flush nicely?
Test the facilities. If the toilet is doing the death-rattle or leaking around the base, you’ve got a problem. Run the taps in the kitchen as well. Make sure everything looks and smells the way it’s supposed to.
7. Are the common areas well maintained?
If you’re looking at an apartment building, pay close attention to the common areas. The entranceway, hallways and elevators should be clean and free of garbage. Don’t forget to have the same critical eye for any other shared facilities like the gym or parking garage.
8. What’s that smell?
If the place smells damp or musty, it could be an indication of serious problems. You don’t want to be living in a home that’s got mould, a leaky roof, or a basement that floods. Your nose is just as important as your eyes in determining whether your new place is well maintained.
9. What’s that noise?
If there are going to be people living above you, you want to make sure the ceilings are thick. Try to visit at the end of the day, when your neighbours are more likely to be home from work and walking around. If you can hear every pin drop, it’s going to drive you crazy when you’re trying to sleep or study.
10. How does it feel?
Take the time to really picture yourself living here. Lots of people visualize where their furniture will go, but not themselves. Can you see yourself coming home to this place every day? Is there lots of natural light and features you know you’re going to love? Is this a kitchen you can actually cook in? Will you feel comfortable having friends over?

You’re going to be spending a great deal of your disposable income on the rent for your new home. Just make sure you’re not left spending the rest of it on ways not to be there.

Ten Things to Ask a Landlord Before You Sign the Lease

Tenant, Tips June 21, 2017

You’ve finally found it, that perfect jewel of off-campus housing you’ve been searching so hard for. It’s close to school, you can afford the rent, and that chair you dumpster-dived is going to look great in the corner of your new living room. Despite your mounting excitement, the next question should not be “where do I sign?”
Here’s a list of questions you’re going to want to ask your prospective landlord before you sign away the next twelve months of your life.
1. What’s included in the rent?
Everything (or practically nothing) can be included in a rental agreement. You’re going to want to know if the following items are in or out before committing. Excluded items add up really quickly, so you need to calculate the real cost of living in the place to know whether or not you can afford it. Cable, heat, electricity, water, internet, parking, and snow removal are the basics you need to ask about.
2. Who’s responsible for what?
You need to know right from the start what the landlord expects you to take responsibility for. Do you have to shovel snow? Take the garbage to the curb? Perform routine maintenance tasks? Clean up the property? Take care of a garden? If you share common space with other tenants, who has to do the cleaning? The more you know going in, the less likely you are to get into a hassle with your landlord down the road. If you ask a few questions and don’t like the answers, find another place to live.
3. Can I paint?
If you don’t like the colour scheme, make sure to ask the landlord if it’s ok to paint. Sometimes they’ll agree, but only if you return it to bland beige or mental asylum green on your way out. If the place really needs painting and your concern isn’t just aesthetic, ask the landlord to pay for the paint. They’ll probably agree if you offer to throw in the labour. If you want the place professionally painted before you move in and the landlord agrees, get that commitment in writing as part of the lease agreement.
4. Do I have to pay a security deposit?
If you’re renting in Ontario, the answer better be “no” because they’re illegal. In other Provinces like Alberta, for instance, landlords can charge a security deposit as long as it’s not more than one month’s rent. A landlord in Ontario can, however, ask you to pay the last month’s rent up front. That’s a rent deposit, not a security deposit. You normally have to give sixty days notice when you want to vacate, so this deposit means you only have to pay one month of rent after giving notice. Asking the question is always a good idea so that you and your landlord have a common understanding of what’s allowed – and what isn’t.
5. Can I have a pet?
In the long-run, it doesn’t really matter what the law says about your right to keep a pet in an apartment. If the landlord doesn’t want you to move in with your dog, you’re better off finding another place. Ask the question and live with the answer.
6. What are the rules around noise?
This is especially important if you’re moving into an apartment building. You need to know up front if there are special noise regulations or if the landlord has any concerns. If you go to bed at a decent hour and study at home, knowing there are restrictions will be comforting. If you’re planning to turn your new place into party-central, noise restrictions should raise a big red flag and send you looking for a more suitable location.
7. What facilities are available to me?
Again, this is particularly relevant for apartment dwellers. Find out when you can use the pool, the gym or the weight room. Can you get a spot in the underground parking or are you stuck with a space outside? Will the landlord/building manager clean out your mailbox for you if you’re away? You’re going to be paying for all of the services that the building provides, whether you use them or not. Find out what they are so that you can get the most out of your rental dollar.
8. What are the neighbours like?
This is not a stupid, nosy, or irrelevant question. If you’re in a small building, the habits of your neighbours will have an impact on your enjoyment of the property. If they sleep all day and work nights, you’re going to hear a lot of door banging and walking around when you’re trying to sleep. If they work at home, you’re never going to be able to have the common yard to yourself. If they’re older, they might have different expectations than a bunch of other student-types. So go ahead and ask. Better to know now if you’re going to be living next door to someone who’s stone deaf and never home (that’s the neighbour you’re looking for).
9. What if I want to leave?
All of the processes and penalties for breaking a lease will be found in the document itself, but it never hurts to ask. There’s usually a penalty for getting out of your lease, and you need to give notice even if you’re going month-to-month. Some landlords are more flexible than others, however, so you should find out without giving the impression that you’re not prepared to honour the lease. Frame it in terms of an unexpected change of circumstances, not a reluctance to commit.
10. How do I get in touch with you?
This is probably the most important question of them all, so don’t sign a lease until you have a phone number and an assurance that your call will be answered within a reasonable period of time.

Best Practices for Dealing with Parents

Student Housing, Tips June 9, 2017

 For all you students reading along for tips on how to deal with your parents, we’ve only got one for you. Accept the fact that they’ll drive you crazy for the first 20 years, you’ll drive them crazy for the next 20, and somewhere after that you’ll call it quits. Yep, that’s all we’ve got.

For landlords, there’s a bit more. Here are some things you might want to consider when your prospective tenants come with parents attached.


  1. Make Sure the Guarantor Knows What They’re Getting Into

If two students sign a lease and the parent of one of them agrees to be the guarantor, that person is just as responsible for the debts and damage of the student who isn’t their kid.

Seems simple enough, but many guarantors haven’t got the first idea of what they’re agreeing to. Many parents think their responsibilities begin and end with their own child, and agree to act as a guarantor because they are confident that they have some control over their offspring’s behaviour and finances. They may be totally unprepared, however, to take on responsibility for a complete stranger, even if they receive assurances that he or she is “awesome”.

Take the time to explain exactly what being a guarantor means. Full responsibility for all liabilities. Better to have the parent back out now than face hassles and possible litigation down the road.


  1. Clarify the Landlord/Tenant Relationship

Many parents believe that if they’re footing the bill, they have rights when it comes to the house or apartment. They’d be wrong. A lease is an agreement between you and your tenant, not between you and whoever’s paying. That only changes if the tenant defaults and you need to recoup from the guarantor.

If the student is on the lease and writes their own cheques: Unless your tenant says otherwise, parents have no particular rights, responsibilities or privileges at all. You can’t let them into the student’s apartment without permission and they can’t tell you what to do. On the other hand, they’re not responsible for anything your tenant does or doesn’t do.  Your tenant isn’t going to call your parents if the toilet’s leaking, so you don’t get to call theirs if they’re being too noisy.

If the student is on the lease but the parent writes the cheques: As in the case above, having your name on the cheque doesn’t buy you any rights. A landlord can issue a demand letter to the parent if the cheque bounces, but only in the same way that any merchant can persue the issuer of a bad cheque. It is the tenant who is ultimately responsible for paying the rent, and that’s who you deal with if it doesn’t get paid on time.

If the parent is a guarantor: Many people talk about their parent being “on the lease”. That’s not the same as being a guarantor, and it’s important to understand the difference. Being a guarantor is basically a lose-lose proposition. They have all the financial responsibility but none of the rights accorded to your tenant. They don’t get to come in or boss anyone around. No greater love hath a parent than to be a guarantor on their child’s lease.

If the parent is actually “on the lease”, it means they are listed as a resident (or tenant). In that case, they have all of the same rights and responsibilities as any of your other tenants and you should treat them accordingly. If you think about it however, that’s never going to happen because you’d no longer be renting off campus housing to a student – you’d be renting to an adult who’s moving in with their child.


  1. Make Friends Where You Can

So far, all we’ve talked about is how irrelevant parents are to the whole tenant/landlord relationship, but nothing could be further from the truth. Getting to know a student’s parents can be invaluable if there are problems over the course of the semester. While you can’t simply call them up with complaints or demands, a good relationship with the parents can make for better relationships with your tenant.

You are perfectly entitled to ask that the parents leave their phone number in case of emergency, although you aren’t legally entitled to it, not are they required to provide one. Most parents, however, will be reassured to know that you have a means of contacting them, especially if this is the first time their child will be living away from home.

Use common sense and don’t overstep the bounds of personal privacy. You can’t rat your tenant out to their parents every time they do something that gets on your nerves. You can, however, be sympathetic and approachable

In most cases, treating students like grown-ups will cause them to behave as adults. Parental involvement will be limited to possibly guaranteeing the lease and schlepping the furniture. And in most cases, that’s exactly how you want to keep it.


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How to Pick a Great Roommate (or at least one you can live with)

Roomate, Tips June 6, 2017

Every spring, students get to indulge in a bit of celebrating. For most, it’s all about finishing that last exam or handing in the final term paper you sweated blood over.  For some, however, there’s a different kind of happy dance going on. It’s called the thank-god-my-lease-is-up-and-I-never-have-to-see-you-again tango.  You really don’t want to go there.

If you’re working out of town for a few months, or back home with your parents for the summer, you may not be thinking too much about your housing prospects for September. Finding a good roommate isn’t like speed dating. You need to start looking at least two months ahead, so that means SOON.

We’ve talked before about the benefits of off campus housing, and high on the list is the ability to choose your own roommate. Pick wisely if you want to get the most out of living in your own place. Here are some things you should definitely think about:


  1. “Friends” Isn’t a Documentary

If you’re looking for a roommate who’s going to be your bestie for life, you may need to give your head a shake. Be honest with yourself about what you’re looking for. The purpose of having a roommate is to share expenses. Whether you’re moving into an established household, or looking for someone to move into your place, the chances of a stranger becoming you next best friend aren’t great. Remember, you need someone who’s going to be reasonably clean and pay the rent on time. You can find any number of other people to party with.

Moving in with your friends can also be a bad idea. Just like good fences make good neighbours, strong boundaries make great roommates. Write up a list of what you think makes a good friend, and another one for the features of a good roommate. You’ll be amazed at how little those two lists have in common.


  1. There’s no Such Thing as “Later”

The time to work out all the details of shared living is before you move in together. Students looking for housing often leave it to the last minute, find another desperate soul, and figure they’ll work out the details later. Wrong.

When you first meet a prospective roommate, you need to ask a lot of questions. Jump right in with the hard stuff, like who’s going to be responsible for cleaning the toilet, and whether you’re going to be sharing your food. Come prepared with a list that includes anything that could potentially cause friction down the road. Do they expect to have friends over late at night? Do they like their music loud? If the person you’re talking to doesn’t want to deal with those issues now, you know they’re certainly not going to want to deal with them later.


  1. A Clean House is a Happy House

If you’re rolling your eyes, you’ve never had to scrape mould out of coffee cups or spend an afternoon trying to track down “that weird smell”. Cleanliness issues are the second greatest source of conflict between roommates after money problems. You can’t tell by looking at someone whether they leave their underwear on the living room floor, so you’re going to have to ask. Start with something simple, like “how important is it to you that the place be kept tidy?”. You’re going to get a ton of information from their response.

If you’re looking to move into someone else’s off campus housing, look around. Really pay attention. Is the sink full of dirty dishes? Is there crap lying around in the communal areas? Is the bathroom knee-deep in little black hairs? If you think that’s gross now, wait until it’s your bathroom. Anything that bothers you now is guaranteed to make you crazy later.


  1. Know What You’re Getting

The more you know about your prospective roommate, the higher the chances are that you’ll make the right choice. If they have a job, they’re probably going to be able to make rent. You’re also more likely to have the place to yourself once in awhile. If you’re open to pets, insist on meeting their dog before you agree to take them on. If they have a partner, you’re either going to be seeing a lot of this person, or your roommate won’t be home much. Find out which it is.

Everyone is going to be on their best behaviour during the initial “roommate interview”. Ask a lot of questions, and be prepared to provide a lot of answers in return. It’s the only tried and tested way to get a real sense of who you’re dealing with.


  1. Use Caution

Don’t give out any personal information until you’ve actually met the person who’s interested in your place (or the people you’re thinking of moving in with). In both instances, always meet in a public place for the initial interview. Once you feel more comfortable, you can agree to show them your apartment or go to have a look at theirs. If the person creeps you out, end the interview and leave.

Many people who met as roommates have developed life-long friendships and have fond memories of their college years. Yes, it actually does happen. For most people, however, finding a roommate is a business decision as much as anything else. It requires a pragmatic, realistic approach to assessing another person’s lifestyle, strengths, and idiosyncrasies. Don’t compromise, don’t dismiss any warning bells, and don’t act in haste.

Don’t be one of the dancers in the get-out-of-my-face, end-of-lease waltz.

Student Complaints, Expectations and Demands: Three Things Every Landlord Should Remember

Landlord, Tips May 31, 2017

 How many students does it take to change a lightbulb? None, because apparently, that’s the landlord’s job. If you’ve never been called late at night to come and change a burnt-out bulb or fuse, you’re either incredibly lucky or you don’t rent off campus housing. Welcome to a whole new level of tenant expectations.

All tenants, regardless of their age or occupation, will have complaints. In most instances, they’re reasonable and dealt with by either the landlord or the property management company as an expected and acceptable part of being in the business. Student apartment rental, however, may raise some unexpected issues that are a lot easier to deal with if you keep the following three things in mind.


  1.   That’s Not My Problem

Because most students have never been homeowners, many have absolutely no idea of the basic anatomy of a house or apartment. They don’t know how to flip a switch on a fuse panel, much less locate one. They don’t change washers on leaky faucets.  What do you mean nail the picture hanger into a stud?  It’s all new, and you’re going to have to be patient.

Take the time to show your tenant what you’re doing if you are called in to fix something that you believe the tenants should have been able to handle themselves. Consider leaving a toolbox with basic tools in each student house for rent. Sure, some are going to go missing, but it’s a lot cheaper than having to come over every time a knob comes loose on a kitchen cupboard.

  1.    My problem is Your Priority

Students tend to expect that their issues will be dealt with immediately, no matter the complexity or time of day. One of the most common complaints about landlords is that they don’t respond in a timely manner or fix the problem quickly enough. But what, exactly, is meant by “timely”?

In many instances, students believe that landlords should respond to a cry for help as soon as they receive it. This, after all, is what they tend to do within their own circles. A typical student will have a minimum of five ways to connect with someone – calling, texting, Facebook, instant messaging, twitter – and some will use many more. As a result, they simply don’t understand why you didn’t immediately grab your mobile device, which you have surgically implanted in the palm of your hand, and get right back to them.

Make sure that you define expected response times whenever you talk to students looking for housing. Be specific about what constitutes an emergency, and list what you believe to be routine maintenance issues. Let them know exactly when, in each circumstance, they can expect a call or email to be returned.

Student tenants have the right to have their complaints attended to within a reasonable timeframe, and you’ll avoid problems down the line if both sides have a common understanding of what is “reasonable” under the circumstances.

  1. You Owe Me

Rightly or wrongly, landlords who deal in off-campus housing often don’t have a great reputation. This is a constant source of frustration for the majority who take pride in their properties and have a particular attachment to the students who rent them. To be blunt, most students assume their landlords will try to rip them off.

Sure, we’ve all met plenty of bad landlords and heard the urban legends about the condition of apartments for rent for students. But the problem doesn’t necessarily stem from a glut of bad experiences. Rather, most students are woefully ignorant of how things like leases, last month’s rent, and security deposits work. If you want to maintain good relationships with your tenants, you’re going to have to shoulder some of the responsibility for educating them.

Always explain any potential fees or expenses beyond the tenant’s monthly rent, no matter how remote. Make sure they fully understand what costs they will be responsible for if there is undue damage or if the lease is broken. This is particularly important if the lease is only under one name. Students tend to think their roommates will be equally responsible for additional expenses, and when the roommate disappears, they’ll blame you for insisting on full payment.


We don’t want to leave you with the impression that student complaints are somehow frivolous or without merit. Students are certainly no different than any other tenant in having a reasonable expectation that the landlord will keep their residence in good order and repair. It doesn’t hurt to be reminded, however, that students are just getting started in the world and that the learning curve can be a little steep at first.

Be guided by the knowledge that student tenants may not have any experience in basic household maintenance, that they will likely have a heightened sense of immediacy, and most will be naturally suspicious of their landlord.  Clarity, patience, and a touch of understanding will go a long way to easing potential tensions, especially when things break down – as they inevitably will, sooner or later.


Why Choose Off-Campus Housing?

Tips May 29, 2017

Choosing whether to live in residence or off-campus is one of those never-ending debates with

no definitive answer. Beatles or Stones? Hockey or Football? Edward or Jacob? Sometimes, it

just depends.

There’s a lot to be said for living in residence. Somebody else is going to worry about the

cooking, cleaning, and other boring stuff while you get to concentrate on studying (or not). You

can roll out of bed fifteen minutes before class and still not be the last one through the door.

You’ve got a permanent group of friends to hang out with and, depending on which university

you choose, an endless choice of things to do.

But those same advantages can also be problems. Your roommate is always the life of the

party, but now you’re wishing he’d just shut up occasionally. Plus, his personal hygiene isn’t

what it should be and the whole place is smelling a bit funky. Can you really blame him when

there’s always a half-hour wait for the shower you both share with ten other people?

Then there’s the food. A meal plan seemed like a great idea and for the first couple of months,

it probably was. Now you’re stuck in a surreal nightmare, constantly circling the cafeteria

looking for something, ANYTHING, that you haven’t already eaten four times this week. You

keep meaning to get to the library for some quiet study time, but there’s always something

better to do along the way. Distractions. Lots and lots of distractions.

That’s when most students start dreaming of off-campus housing. Their own little piece of

paradise with a door that closes and nobody else on the inside of it. It’s not a complete fantasy,

but if you want to live off campus, you need to consider a lot more than where your new place

is going to be located.

Cost can understandably be a driving factor. Living off campus is potentially much cheaper,

especially if you add in the cost of your residence meal plan. When you look at the price of rent,

however, you need to budget for all the things it doesn’t include. Cable, internet, hydro and

parking are all things that may or may not be provided by your new landlord. Find out ahead of

time, and adjust your budget accordingly.

Depending on the location, you may also need to pay for public transit. Walking to class is one

of the prime benefits of living on campus, and commuting is a big adjustment. Getting to class

on time is going to put pressure on both your wallet and your organizational skills. Even if you

find a place within walking distance of campus, there’s nobody bouncing around the place

telling you to get out of bed.

You will be able to choose your own roommates, something you don’t get to do in residence. In

reality, however, it’s a narrow choice. You can walk away if the people you’re talking to look like

extras from the Walking Dead but remember, zombies and warlocks can look just like everyone

else at the start. Sooner or later, your new friends are going to drive you nuts, just like the old

ones. The same applies if you take on the lease and then advertise for roommates. Temper your

expectations and choose wisely.

You can always move out, right? No actually, you can’t. You’re probably going to be signing

some type of lease, especially if it’s your own place or you’re the one who will be trying to find

a roommate to help pay the rent. That means being on the hook for a minimum of 12 months

and having to give 60 days notice if you want to move out – even if you’re on a month-to-

month lease. There’s lots of information out there about leases. Read it.

Here’s the good news about living off campus. You’re definitely going to have more space to

yourself. You’re going to have instant access to the bathroom, even if you’re the one who’s

going to have to clean it. You’re going to be interacting with a whole range of people who

aren’t students, which isn’t a bad thing if you ever plan to graduate and move on with your life.

If you do it right, off-campus living should be cheaper. You’ll have to cook for yourself, but at

least you’ll have some variety and learn a few important life skills.

Best of all, you don’t have to move when summer comes. If you’ve found the perfect

roommates, love your new place, and are planning to stay in the area between terms – you can.

Finally, lots of people like off-campus living because there are no more restrictive dorm rules.

Just a reminder, however, that there are laws. Things like noise by-laws and fines for public

drunkenness that you need to respect. But it’s probably not necessary to go into all that,

because you’re moving off campus so that you can focus on your courses, right? Definitely.

In the end, choosing whether or not to live off campus isn’t that hard. It’s really the same as

asking whether you’re ready to take total responsibility for yourself. Some are, some aren’t.

Residence is a gentle introduction to independence. If you’re ready to try the undiluted version,

and all the challenges and benefits that go with it, off-campus housing might be just what

you’re looking for.


Click this link if you’re looking for off campus housing, scroll down and click to the school you plan to attend.

Tips for off campus housing landlords

Tips September 9, 2016

Being a landlord isn’t for everybody, but if it is done correctly, it can be a very lucrative form of investment. The demand for off-campus housing will constantly grow as the years go by.

When it comes to off-campus housing, there are many questions you need to ask and tips that you need to know before you can rent out the place to renters, especially when you are a first-time landlord.

If you find an article related to off-campus housing resources, you are in the right spot! In this article, you will find six powerful tips for off campus houisng that will make you a much better and savvy landlord.


  1. Have a written agreement

You will be surprised that there are many landlords who are using verbal agreement. Sure, these renters are either students or undergraduates, nothing can go wrong right?

No, you might get that wrong!

As a landlord, you should always consider renters as equal. As the process of renting involves law and money, it is always recommended to have the agreement in written.

Sure, it may costs you some money for a well written lease agreement, but in a long run, it will protect you from many unwanted incidents. A written agreement is also important as it will highlight what can and can’t be done during the entire duration of rental.


  1. Setting up visiting times

As a landlord, you have to provide privacy to your tenants, but it is utterly important to ensure that you visit the place from time to time.

This is because you need to make sure that no wrongdoing is done in the rented property and the property is also being taken care off.

To have an agreement on random visiting, you should highlight this to your tenants before they sign the agreement. As a landlord, you may want to schedule one visit per month to check on the property.


  1. Getting your property insured

As a student housing landlord, it vital for you to get your property insured. You are in the rental industry for some time; you will understand that getting insurance on a student rental is challenging. However, that must not deter you to try to get proper insurance for coverage.

In this case, it is always important to get your property insured even when the cost of getting it done is high. This is because having proper insurance doesn’t only protect the property from damages etc.; it is also used as protection for both the landlord and tenants. Although we recommend tenants get their own renters insurance to protect their personal property. Usually this can fall under their parents homeowners policy.


  1. Maintaining your property

Did you know that as an off-campus housing landlord, you should also get involved in the maintenance of the property?

Before renting the place, you (as the landlord) need to ensure that the property is in a good state of repair and fit for habitation. In other words, everything should be working on the property before you can successfully start renting out to potential tenants.

Of course, in the case where there are repairs that are not able to complete on time, you should always highlight it to the renters if they are agreeable to it. Once they agreed with it, you should also provide the expected time for the repair to be completed.


  1. Knowing The Season

In the rental industry, there will be seasons where you need to be aware of. There will be months where you will be able to charge renters a higher charge while other months with a lower rate.

Furthermore, rates differ widely based on location. If you have no idea where to start, you can refer to or your local real estate agent and property managers to have an idea of the rates.

One of the important tips for off-campus housing landlords is to ensure that your rates can cover for maintenance costs (those ad-hoc ones) and even for miscellaneous charges such as bank repayment insurance cost and utilities ect.


  1. Keeping Your Tenants Happy

Do you know that being successful off-campus housing landlord requires you to keep your tenant happy?

When tenants have a good time, they will tend to share that with their friends and family. With Today’s social media, they could be giving you free advertising for the next batch of students seeking off campus housing.

Having good reputation also means that you will need to spend less money on marketing when there’s vacancy.

Here’s a nifty trick to get your tenants start engaging with you. You can reach out to them once in a while to check if they are okay with the place. If you are adventurous, you could even bring them some food to create more communication and foster the bond!



Being a savvy off campus housing landlord requires you to understand the market well (for better income from rental) and at the same time, providing good customer service to create a pleasant environment.


Check those smoke and carbon detectors

ByLaws January 14, 2015

Seems some hefty fines have been imposed to these landlords. Be sure to check your systems landlords. You can read the details on the Welland Tribune site.

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  • OCL Launches

    by on January 30, 2013 - 0 Comments

    After some implementations and slight changes, OCL is officially open for business. We’ll start populating each school / location systematically. I’f your location isn’t listed, please contact us so we can accommodate you.

  • Facebook Page.

    by on March 28, 2013 - 0 Comments

    Wanted to invite you all to check out our Facebook page.

  • Off Campus Social Media

    by on November 26, 2013 - 0 Comments

    I’m sure  you have noticed all the Social media links here on OCL. Our theory is to help potential tenants share great properties with friends / family who are looking for housing and to help those landlords / property managers market their properties in other venues giving potential tenant who don’t know about OCL a […]

  • Nigerian Scammers Operating again.

    by on January 29, 2014 - 0 Comments

    A warning to landlords and property owners out there, seems we have a Nigerian scammer probing for information again.. We had a similar scammer send an email along the same lines last summer, they went as far as sending a stolen check.. If you get and email from this person, proceed with caution.. “Hello, It […]

  • Check those smoke and carbon detectors

    by on January 14, 2015 - 0 Comments

    Seems some hefty fines have been imposed to these landlords. Be sure to check your systems landlords. You can read the details on the Welland Tribune site.