Three Business School students have teamed up with residential property investment and lettings specialist Cullen Property on a research project.
Andrew Main (Business Management with Entrepreneurship), Brendan Naughton (Law with Entrepreneurship) and Ronan Hutchison (Business Management with Entrepreneurship) examined the student market following last year’s Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) legislation.
Cullen Property specialises in HMO lettings to students in Edinburgh city centre and has taken great pride in maintaining good relationships with its student tenants often over a number of years, and was keen to get their input on the changes.
They found - from a series of interviews, focus groups and surveys – that with the new PRT legislation allowing students to leave properties after giving 28 days’ notice, students consider the relationship between them and the agents to be more equal.
Ronan Hutchison said: “Students may sometimes feel mistreated or expendable in the minds of their landlords. Having a property management agency that listens to students goes a long way to helping Cullen Property stand out in a largely homogenous industry.”
Brendan Naughton commented on the changes caused by the new legislation: “These new market conditions give Cullen Property ample opportunity to shape themselves to the student rental climate and continue to offer a great service to ever-changing student needs.”
Another theme highlighted by all three budding entrepreneurs was the importance of listening to students and adjusting the lettings process to their needs.
All three students enjoyed working with a company outside their daily university environment and being able to contribute insights that will be used to shape the future of Cullen Property’s dealings with their student clients.
On Cullen Property’s side, the project was led by Marketing Manager Scott Binnie. He said: “The PRT legislation has fundamentally changed the way student lettings need to be managed. Working with Edinburgh Napier, and specifically with Andrew, Brendan and Ronan, was a perfect opportunity for us to find out how we can adapt to serve students better.
“We were impressed with the team’s initiative, their enthusiasm and the findings they presented to us. Needless to say, we’d be keen to work with Edinburgh Napier students again on a follow-up project.”
As a result of Coronavirus, Cullen Property has adapted its property viewings process to accommodate tenants who are self-isolating or simply want to minimise social contacts in the wake of the outbreak.
From 19 March, all viewings will be conducted virtually, enabling students to find a home for the next academic year whilst protecting their own and existing tenants’ health.