Being a sought after university town, Stellenbosch is fast approaching the time of year for registrations – which is also a time when student accommodation is in demand for the following academic year, and subsequent years of the study period.
Says Louise Varga, area manager for Pam Golding Properties in Stellenbosch and Somerset West: “Stellenbosch has always enjoyed a strong demand for rentals thanks to its ever-renewing student population. Currently there are some 35 000 students attending the university, a number likely to increase in the future.”
An example of student accommodation units in high demand – and achieving excellent returns on investment for landlords/owners is Andringa Walk. In this modern apartment complex, just a few minutes’ walk from the university campus – through Pam Golding Properties, an unfurnished two bedroom apartment achieves a monthly rental of an average of R12 500 and even as much as R18 000 per month for a furnished apartment.
“In 2015 on average a bachelor apartment in Andringa Walk commands rental income of R7 700 per month and a one bedroom unit R8 500 per month. The closer the proximity of the accommodation is to campus, the higher the demand and therefore the rental,” she says.
Varga provides some useful advice for parents seeking student accommodation: “Firstly, if you have a child who is going to attend Stellenbosch University, it is advisable that you put your name on a waiting list in August or September or as soon as you know he or she is going to Stellenbosch. Rental contracts for student accommodation run from 1 December to 30 November, and most rental contracts state that if you are not going to renew they require you give one calendar month’s notice. As a result, we generally only know in November if we have stock, although we do ask clients to advise us in September or the moment they know they are not going to renew the contract.
“As each year we have a waiting list of those wanting student accommodation, we don’t need to advertise the available accommodation. So if you are not already on a waiting list and wait till about the end of November your choice will be from what is left over,” she says.
“As a parent, establish what kind of agreement you have with the estate agency dealing with the student accommodation. This is because a rental agent receives different mandates from landlords. This may be a procurement mandate to find tenants – in which case that is all the agency does, namely finds the tenant/s, and the landlord manages the apartment. If you rent student accommodation where the landlord has given the agency a procurement mandate, then the deposit is paid directly to the landlord and the agency is not further involved. Neither will the agency conduct any ingoing or outgoing inspection. So if the geyser for example, bursts the tenant needs to contact the landlord as the accommodation is not managed by the agency.
“In the instance of a managed mandate, then the agency does conduct an ingoing and outgoing inspection, and the deposit and the rental is collected by the agency on behalf of the landlord.
As a result of there being different types of contracts, it is important that you, the tenant/parent, ensure you know who you need to deal with,” adds Varga.