You are reading: How to Attract Student Renters

May 13, 2024

How to Attract Student Renters

Daniel Berlind

As a property manager, you know that attracting tenants to your apartment building can be challenging. But what about targeting student tenants? Attracting students can be important for your rental business because, let’s face it, they make up a significant portion of the rental market, especially if your building is near a college campus.

It’s important to make your rental property stand out in the sea of options. You may think that since there are so many students in need of a home, you won’t have to try that hard to get their attention. However, you’re trying to attract the best tenant, not just any tenant. An effective marketing strategy is necessary to achieve this goal.

Attracting student renters can be a daunting task, however, it doesn’t have to be. With the valuable insights and practical tips we’ll share ahead, you can entice student renters to choose your property over others in the surrounding area. From utilizing social media to building partnerships with local colleges and businesses, there are many ways to increase your chances of attracting great student tenants to your property.

Benefits of Your Location

Being near a college campus provides a unique opportunity for property managers. You know exactly what your tenant pool looks like, making it easier to market to them and include amenities they’ll love. Here are some of the key benefits of having an apartment complex close to a college campus:

Increased Demand for Rental Properties

College students are always looking for convenient housing options close to their campus. As a result, we see significantly increased demand for rental properties, leading to higher occupancy rates and higher rents.

Shorter Vacancy Periods

Vacant units can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Empty units mean lost rental income, which can lead to financial insecurity, and no one wants that! The longer a unit remains unoccupied, the more concerned property managers become about the impact on their business long term.

The good news is that since there’s a high demand for apartments in college areas, you are likely to experience shorter vacancy periods, as students are continuously looking for housing options. You may see bigger surges throughout the summer and fall when large numbers of students are moving in, too.

Higher Rental Rates

Another perk of the increased demand is that property managers near college campuses are able to charge higher rent rates. College areas are typically surrounded by great restaurants, shopping centers, and bars, which helps incentivize students to stay close by and pay top dollar for units in the area.

Stable Tenants

Contrary to what you might have heard, college students are typically stable tenants who rent for a long period of time. They look for rentals that fit their academic calendar, which often leads to consistent lease renewals and long-term leases. This provides property managers with a reliable, constant stream of rental income.

Easy Marketing

Marketing toward students is easy for property managers when their building is located near a college campus. Campus newspapers, social media platforms, and other student-friendly marketing channels with special promotions make it easier for property managers to promote their units to students.

Highlight Your Amenities and Perks

One of the best ways to attract student renters is to have and highlight your amenities. College students are set on making this the best four years of their lives, and living in a trendy apartment with fun amenities will make their experience that much better.

If you have a study space or computer center, advertise it! Students may need a quiet place to do their homework or work on group projects. Highlighting that you have computers and printers will be a big help to them, too.

It goes without saying that students are interested in apartment complexes that have a pool. What’s better than a nice swim after a long day of classes? Emphasizing the areas that they can relax will go a long way when it comes time for them to make a decision.

Other perks that sit well with student renters are furnished units, in-unit or onsite washers and dryers, utilities included, and allowing cosigners. These are features that may not be as common at your standard apartment complex, but buildings that are close to campus strongly benefit from adding them.


Offering discounts can be a big incentive for students. Many students are on a budget and if they see that you offer a free month of rent or a reduced security deposit, they may be more inclined to sign a lease with you. You can do these discounts sparingly or tie them to specific events or contests.

You can also offer varying lease terms to be more flexible. Students are used to seeing standard one-year leases, but if you offer a variety of terms (such as 9 months or 15 months), you’ll stand out amongst other complexes in the area.

Marketing to Students

Marketing your apartment complex to students requires a unique approach that takes into consideration a student’s interests, priorities, and budget. It’s not as simple as putting up a sign out front and calling it a day. What do they want? What will make their experience easier? Make sure to utilize marketing efforts that are inclusive and follow all Fair Housing Laws.

Have an Effective, Easy to Use Website

College students are fully immersed in the culture of digital media. Nowadays, the hunt for the perfect apartment primarily occurs online. They would rather spend hours scrolling through listings, comparing amenities and neighborhood crime rates, and studying photos than talk to a leasing agent. So, you’d better make sure your website is top-notch if you want to catch their attention!

Make sure your website is easy to use, always up-to-date, and engaging enough to capture their interest. After all, your website is the first stop on the path to their future home. Avoid outdated fonts and make sure you have eye-catching images of your units, community areas, and neighborhood.

A great way to keep people on your site longer is to incorporate interactive tools. This can include things like:

  • Virtual floor plans
  • Budget calculators
  • Tour schedulers
  • Property videos or 3D tours

Utilize Social Media

It’s time to leave the dark ages and get social! Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok are the perfect places to reach out to students. Post pictures of your apartment complex and showcase the amenities and features that you offer. Instagram reels and TikTok videos can be great ways to showcase your property and provide brief room tours.

Incorporate some humor into your accounts, too. The more they can relate to your content, the more they will want to rent from you! You can also create social media ad campaigns to reach an even larger audience. This can be especially helpful on Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Marketplace.

Host Events

Another great way to reach students is through on-campus and on-property events. Provide flyers that showcase the perks of your property and provide a special discount if they sign a lease with you. Give away branded items, such as water bottles, pop sockets, and reusable tote bags that they can use around campus.

Make the events fun! Have games and contests with prizes that include gift cards and branded items. Use this as an opportunity to connect with local students and show them how great your property is.

Partner with the College and Local Businesses

Since you’re trying to get more students into your property, what better way to do that than to partner with the college itself? See if anyone in administration knows the best place to post flyers or if there are any campus brochures that you can get your property into. The campus may have a list of recommended apartments in the area for students.

Partnering with local businesses is another great way to promote your apartment complex. Stop by the spots that students frequent, such as local cafés or bars, and see if you can leave some marketing materials.

Ask for Referrals and Reviews

Don’t forget to ask current tenants to refer their friends and family to your property. Offer incentives for each successful referral, such as discounted rent. Not only does this encourage new tenants, but it shows that you value the loyalty of your current tenants.

Consider asking your current tenants for reviews on websites like Yelp and Google. You can link them on your website while establishing a presence on prominent review sites. This is a great way to increase visibility and trustworthiness.

Beware of Bad Tenants

There’s no denying the importance of filling vacancies. But, let’s not forget the bigger picture. Your goal is to have a building full of fantastic tenants that pay rent on time and adhere to community rules. Trust us; the last thing you want is to fill your vacant units with individuals who pose a risk to your business’s success and are a headache to deal with.

It’s essential to adhere to your defined rental criteria and take tenant screening seriously. Just because someone wants to rent your unit, doesn’t mean they’re qualified to.

To Sum Up…

Attracting student renters to your apartment complex might seem tricky, but there are plenty of resources and strategies available for property managers to succeed. Highlight your amenities and make sure your website is up-to-date, easy to navigate, and of course, mobile friendly. Make use of social media and leverage campus marketing opportunities that may be available to you. With a little creativity and consistency, you’ll be the first choice of students in your area in no time.

Lastly, don’t forget to keep your property safe by using Snappt. Check out our ROI calculator and see how much risk your building could be facing from fraudulent applications.

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