The Pros and Cons: Renting to International Students
It can be debated, but I would argue that we are the largest property manager of residential student rentals, in all of NJ. We manage nearly 400 students that attend class at Rutgers University and a decent portion include international students. Today we are going to offer the pros and cons of renting to international students.
Renting to college students is a very challenging sub-market but one way to determine a good tenant from a bad tenant is what their major is. Simply put, the engineering or math major is going to have to focus more time on studying than the person majoring in criminal justice, communication or (fill in the blank) studies. International students overwhelmingly choose difficult majors. They're a very studious bunch and that leaves less time for parties or getting into trouble.
Most international students have money. It costs a fortune to attend school out of state. Many schools use international students as a profit center to lower the cost of attendance for everyone else. The bulk of international students either are studying on a scholarship or have parents who paid a good sum of money to have their kid get a college education. Their ability to pay is often not a problem.
We often find international students to be very respectful and polite, which is a breath of fresh air sometimes when it comes to being a property manager. They will generally respect your rules and the local law as well.
This is the toughest one but a lot of international students you can run into housekeeping and hygiene problems. Some have used strong cooking oil in the house, some have left garbage just piled up in the kitchen, some don't turn the thermostat on, some smoke in the house. You'll have to set ground rules and really explain things in detail. It's not all bad but temper your expectations for a clean apartment. In general we have had to stay on international students more than your typical student.
While international students do have the ability to pay, that doesn't mean they will. We have had some up and pack up in the middle of the night. POOF. Gone. Oh, you want to litigate? Good luck getting someone who lives overseas and is never coming back here to an eviction or civil suit. Consider this when it comes time to ask for a security deposit or how you want to handle rent collection.
To summarize, if you own student rental properties there will be an increasing chance that you rent to international students. Vet them the same way you would any other student and hopefully this article gives you a little insight for what to expect! The international student population is growing and so will housing them. Remember that.