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Student tenants are safer, claims rental platform CEO

Student tenants are more reliable than employed renters because they are shielded from the UK’s troubled economic backdrop, claims Hannah Chappatte (pictured), chief executive of student-focused platform Hybr.

While increased wear and tear is often associated with the student market, Chappatte makes the point that they are funded by student loans rather than being placed at the mercy of the workplace, so in that respect landlords should be more open to students than they are.

Chappatte told PropertyWire: “Students are there to focus on career prospects, while they have the pressure of paying money into their studies.

“In the professional rental market they’re far more susceptible to the economic backdrop.”

Landlords currently have an overly one-sized fits all perception of students, argued Chappatte.

She added: “When you say to landlords ‘will you rent to students?’ they say ‘no’.

“Then you say ‘what about a third-year medical student or an engineering post-graduate?’ and they are more open.”

She went on to say it’s key there’s a house available for every type of student, whether they want something something cheaper and basic or more up-market.

Hybr works by matching up students with landlords and developers via its online platform.

Chappatte, now 26, founded the company at just 22 in 2020 after growing frustrated with the poor quality of rental accommodation available to students while studying Liberal Arts at the University of Bristol.

She was surprised by the propensity for agents to demand a full year’s rent upfront, as well as students commonly being placed at the bottom of the pile when applying via major property portals.

On Rightmove for example, she claimed typical listings get something like 36 enquiries and students rarely hear back.

Listings are placed on Hybr 10 months before the current student moves on to keep void periods to a minimum, while in the unlikely event that the student doesn’t pay then Hybr will cough up the rent.

There’s a waiting list of student tenants, so there’s usually somebody ready to fill the vacancy.

Hybr charges landlords 30-35% of one month’s rent to use the platform, depending on how intensely it manages the property.

To date the company operates in 10 university cities, while it’s currently in the middle of a major expansion drive, which is explored in more detail here.

Chappatte explained the appeal of the platform to residential landlords.

She said: “What is landing well with landlords is derisking the environment.

“With the cost of being a landlord rising, and landlords thinking of leaving the space, then anything we can do to optimise occupancy rates is very important.

“We take full liability for the rent via rent guarantee models, so it’s a safe investment.”