1. Does the property manager currently deal with student housing? If so, get some references. Student rentals are more time intensive and higher maintenance for a property manager.
2. Understand and set an expected response time, e.g. a tenant call should be returned within two hours if urgent, or 24 hours if not urgent. This service level agreement (SLA) means you can then set expectations accordingly with the students. Also, identify what is their preferred mode of communication, whether that is phone call, email or text.
3. Agree on frequency and detail of inspections. As we know, students can put more strain on a property and create more garbage so things can change quickly. It may be necessary to create a written checklist that they can use for each inspection. The property manager can submit this to you periodically.
4. Discuss tenant selection criteria (groups/ individuals etc.). Agree on an application form that gathers all necessary information.
5. Work together on a lease that meets the criteria for student housing – single family leases won’t work (but they must all be on one lease).
6. Discuss the financials including when you’ll get your rent payment (set a specific day of the month). You need to ascertain with your PM what monetary amount needs to be allocated for expenditures and placement costs for filling unit.
7. Maintain regular communication with your property manager. Student investing is very hands on compared to other investing strategies so be proactive about staying in touch.