Let to international mature student

Has anyone let the property to overseas student? A mature student is coming to do postgraduate study and brings family along. They claim to have secured jobs in their country and willing to put the deposit to secure the property as their moving in date will be one month later.

I have not let to students before so I wonder:

  1. how to do the reference check for international student?
  2. how do I know their credit such as any CCJ in their home country? The university offered them a place does not mean they have been checked for this.
  3. They do not have job in UK, but they claim to have savings as they have to fulfill requirement for visa etc which requires stable financial situation. How can I make sure the bank statement etc are genuine? and they may not trust me if I want them to show savings.
  4. They will move in a month later, what deposit I can ask for? I effectively will loose one month rent if they move in one month later. I communicate with them my instinct tells me that are serious people that is why I consider them.
  5. If they have friends in UK, I’d like to ask them to be guarantor. But that to me does not seem to be useful as the guarantor can just refuse to pay as my last case.

If anyone can share experience or advice that would be grateful. Thanks,

I have had three tenants in the past with zero UK financial footprint. One could provide proof of contracted and salaried employment in the UK another had other financial means (and two good UK based references) and would pass affordability on that basis. The third was on an internship with a view to full time employment (this part undocumented) and I took 3 months rent + deposit upfront. All passed right to rent checks. I tried Openrent’s referencing in the second case. They could not help at all and sheepily confessed that they can only reference based on UK footprint. The first tenant stayed for 6 years. The second for 1 year before moving for work reasons and it was the last one who was a student. The tenancy was ok but it became clear to me during the tenancy that the tenant had not been wholly truthful about the length of the internship or the liklihood of employment. The person left a fair fit of rubbish (and a fair amount of mould due to not ventilating the flat). I had conducted my own background checks and referencing in the same way I would for a UK based tenant and had all responses in emails. At the end of the day, it is a bit of a punt but 2 out of 3 went well and account for 7 out of 7.5 years of tenancy.

Thanks Nilesh for sharing your experience. When you mentioned the right to rent check, what is this? As landlord we are required to check their eligibility to stay in UK and we can only see the visa, but I feel that there is no way we can verify their financial condition or what they claim about the employment is fully honest.

Hi Kai &Nilesh , I am in same situation… family from Hong Kong coming, no foot print in Uk… seems good people… How should be protect ourselves? What’s minimum advance rent and deposit should I ask and whats best way to receive this…any help much appreciated…

Referencing potential tenants with no UK footprint is not easy, not impossible and not reliable (no referencing ever is). Depends how thorough you are in following up references and checking financial info. Very likely no rent guarantee insurance available or very expensive. Never used it myself. Regards minimum advance, the most I’ve ever asked for and received is 6 months rent (break clause at 6 months) + deposit. Then 6 months again until end of tenancy agreement. In the second year, the tenant was fully settled (employed, UK bank account, name on all utilities and council tax etc) with a regular income so we moved to monthly rent payment. This was my suggestion and the tenant really appreciated my being proactive and fair. You might want to consider a rolling rent as stated above. Basically, it is whatever you can negotiate with the tenant. You must document everything though and serve all the proper paperwork. Best accepting payments through bank transfer. Encourage them to set up UK based banking well in advance of start of any tenancy although you will struggle to insist on this. Most importantly, be fair, open and honest. There is a huge element of trust on both sides especially as your tenant will be new to the UK and the rental market. Good luck

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I have let to overseas students. They paid the full rent for the whole term upfront: a full year’s rent, in one case; about 6 or 7 months’ rent in another.


HI I have the same experience. I had a British guy who was not a great tenant, wanted me to reduce rent etc. When he left had two overseas students wanting it and both offered the full years rent up front so I just did right to rent checks using zoom since the government checks in person were relaxed
Tenant has not moved in yet but on this basis would do ti again

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Isnt taking all that rent unlawfull, I would fear that after the period of paid rent they could stay and not pay and you couldnt do anything as you have not complied with the law.

It is perfectly legal to take the rent up front up to 12k. At the end of the period the tenant has just the same right as anyone else but no more. Anyway they cannot stay as they have time limited leave to remain so will have to leave the country anyway

Did you ask for any UK based guarantor for the tenants? The potential overseas tenant has difficulty to provide that currently.

I didn’t, because the full rent was paid upfront and in addition I took a deposit from them. However, I got references from an academic supervisor and previous landlord in one case, and in another, I got confirmation from the language school that they were studying there, and a character reference from their teachers.

Is the language school REAL or do they SELL qualifications

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Hi Carolyn3,

Did you use openrent or you deal with tenant yourself?

Used open rent. It was my tenant who said she would pay the whole lot up front so I asked open rent if this was ok and they said up to 12 k. She paid this through open rent. It seemed a good solution to me as otherwise she would have needed a guarantor outside the UK. A lot of foreign students are offering to do this as it seems their governments are paying large amounts for accommodation.

Many thanks Carolyn3. I can see that openrent seem to suggest not to take full 12 months but something less than 11 months to avoid any long periodic issue although I am not sure if I understand fully for that issue.