Do Short Leases Attract Students?


Thursday, April 17, 2014

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Many students who are searching for housing face the challenge of finding a lease that matches the length of their academic year. In most college and university cities, it’s fairly common for landlords and property managers to offer a twelve month lease; however, many students are only in school for eight to nine months. With the majority of these students returning home for the summer, they are left paying for three to four months of rent, when they aren’t occupying the accommodations. This leads to the question - do short leases attract students?

YES! There are three primary reasons why students are attracted to shorter leases:

  1. Students have a limited income and typically cannot afford to lose money on rent.
  2. Students often don’t have the need for housing over summer, as most students return home.
  3. Shorter leases eliminate the need to sublease.


What does this mean for landlords and property managers of student housing?

Some landlords and property managers may have success offering a twelve month lease, particularly if it is considered standard within their rental market. However, in some college and university cities that have a highly competitive rental market, it would be beneficial to offer a more flexible lease term, as eight to nine month leases would be more appealing to student renters.


What about the lost income for landlords and property managers? Often they will prorate the rental rate slightly and/or secure short-term leases during the summer months. Many cities have seasonal visitors such as tourists, sports teams or vacationers who are in need of summer housing.


Landlords who only offer twelve month leases should consider allowing for the flexibility of tenants to sublease, if they want to secure leases with students. The original tenant who signed the lease would still be responsible to pay the rent, but would then have the option to sublease the unit during the summer months, if necessary.


It’s important to evaluate a rental market when choosing a lease term. Student housing is rather unique, as students tend to be more transient renters who seek accommodations for shorter periods of time. Most often, students are attracted to shorter leases!

The Team