Having a son or daughter at university brings with it a fresh chapter in many parents' lives. While many are resigned to tackling mountains of washing at the end of term or bailing out offspring who have blown their student loan in week one, more Mums and Dads than ever are discovering that university-bound children signal the start of their foray into buy-to-let.
New research from the Post Office has rubber stamped what we are finding here at London Residential - that parents are buying properties to rent out to their student children, and providing for themselves in the process.
The rise in 'parent landlords' is unsurprising. Universities are not building enough new halls of residence to keep up with demand, and parents are increasingly worried about packing off children to live in privately rented accommodation where they have no control over safety and standards.
The trend is now for parents to purchase a property for their student child to live in and charge them sub-market rents or no rent at all. Any mortgage repayments are met by renting out other rooms in the property to fellow students.
As the Post Office findings show, around 25% of parent landlords intend to sell the property in the future to fund their own later lives. The happy byproduct is reassurance their their child is in quality accommodation and is not stretched financially with accommodation costs.
The key to making the 'parent landlord' exercise work is finding the right property to purchase in the optimum location. Areas that we cover - Kentish Town, Camden Town and King's Cross - are prime student hunting grounds thanks to their close proximity to London's universities, thriving social scenes and exceptional transport links. North West London also has some fantastic properties that lend themselves to student lets.
Professional lettings support is essential for distinguishing whether a let becomes a 'house of multiple accommodation', compliance advice, rent setting and property management. With a great lettings team on board, most parents can graduate as successful landlords with a first.
Research by Post Office Money shows that some 730,000 parents are already letting properties to their children, with an estimated 10 per cent not charging any rent and the vast majority charging below market rent levels.