Why more students opt for bills included
Students choose peace of mind and convenience that bills included brings
Recently, we asked two students what would be their advice for other students looking for accommodation for the first time. Alongside tips like choosing the right people to live with and knowing how you can get to campus, both mentioned the importance of finding a house with the cost of utility bills included in the rent.
We didn’t ask them to mention this specific advice on bills, just to include what they felt were the most important things to consider when moving out of halls.
Their responses underline the fact that a rising number of students see bills included as a must-have feature, when choosing where to live. Our own research bears this out.
Last year, when we surveyed our tenants, 58.8% of respondents rated having bills-included in rent as an important influence on their chose of student accommodation.
This clicks with national research conducted by Accommodation for Students. Of their respondents, a staggering 70% consider the inclusion of bills in rent important. Meanwhile, student advice sites such as Save the Student are actively recommending that new tenants try to negotiate bills as part of the rent.
The benefits to tenants
- Ease of use
Setting up utilities contracts is a frustrating experience, especially if you’ve never had to do it before. Working out how to split the bills is a good way to stir up arguments between housemates.
Having bills included, smooths over these possible points of discord. Instead, by offering a bills-included package landlords are giving their student tenants a much easier way of managing their money. You also have the peace of mind that utility payments are under control.
Research by Natwest, suggests that just under a third of students don’t actively budget. While half of students find having to manage their budget adds to the stress of living away from home.
Bills included helps with budgeting and reduces the stress of having to manage their money.
The utilities that tenants expect to be included
Again, our own research tallies closely with other findings.
Our survey shows that the must-have utilities are gas, water and electricity. Over 96% of respondents said these are essentials in any bills package. This is, to a certain extent, self-evident.
It is Broadband that is the clincher.
In a national poll, 77% of all students said that a strong broadband connection is essential for their student accommodation.
60% of our survey respondents said that bills-included should include broadband.
That the figures aren’t 100% suggests that many students feel that they are more confident in finding a good deal on internet provision and handling the financial responsibilities of the contract. This is mitigated by the convenience of having broadband already available in the property, or at least ready within the first week of their tenancy, rather than having to wait until they move in to set everything up.
Other providers have been keen to suggest offering subscription services, such as Netflix. However, our own research showed only 2% of respondents would consider this a reason to choose a house. By their very nature, streaming services are portable. Many tenants would be bringing these types of subscriptions with them.
If you re providing TVs in the property, add a TV licence to the bills package too.
As an aside, a security alarm is a much stronger factor for students deciding to rent a property than a subscription to a streaming service.
The benefits for landlords
The major benefit is that you are making your property much more attractive to prospective tenants. A property that students can simply move into, knowing that all of the awkward nitty gritty is already taken care of, is much more attractive. It means that they can concentrate on being students!
Despite this growing demand, many landlords won’t offer this service. Quite simply you are putting your properties ahead of the curve and stealing an advantage on landlords who don’t offer bills included to tenants.
Offering a bills inclusive service, also makes the property easier to manage, as you aren’t relying on tenants remembering to cancel their contracts!
How Purple Frog can help
For many landlords, a significant hurdle to introducing a bills package is the worry that they will be saddled with extra costs if tenants overuse their utilities.
Purple Frog offers a service that enables you to offer your tenants all the benefits of a bills included package but without the worry that you’ll get stuck with an unpaid bill at the end of tenancy.
Instead, we organise connection of the services for each of your properties and monitor your tenants’ usage.
Properties that use Purple Frog’s package benefit from a higher usage allocation. This makes it much harder for tenants to overspend.
If tenants are overusing the utilities, we will help them manage their usage, to try and prevent any over spend. On the rare occasion that tenants do exceed these quotas, we will help them adjust their monthly payments to take into account this additional expenditure.
This all means that you can offer an attractive bills package, which will attract students to your properties and ensure your tenants have a happy and secure tenancy.
If you would like more information about how to do this, please contact me.