Tips for Renting to International Students

Students from around the world choose Milwaukee as their destination to study and live. The Neighborhood Housing Office hopes to assist these students in their search for off-campus homes. Below are some tips on how to successfully rent to international students in Milwaukee.

Requiring a credit check - Most students do not have established credit in the U.S. Unless they are employed, students also do not have social security information.Rather than a credit check, adopt a double security deposit policy for tenants.
Exclusively verbal communication - Language can be a barrier while contacting international student tenants.Write down all communication with students to minimize confusion and track conversations.
Requiring a cosigner –Most students do not have someone in the U.S. that can cosign. Ask the student to provide information similar to that already given to the university (e.g. identification, proof of funding or bank statement, etc.)
Mailing a security deposit to students –Many students leave the U.S. after vacating a unit and mailing a check internationally can be difficult. Conduct a walk-through during move-out with the students, calculate a total for deductions, and return the remaining deposit in person.
Creating an ad without images of the unit – Many students begin their housing search online before they enter the U.S.Provide photos, video, and clear description of the unit’s amenities and features that students can use to make their housing arrangement decisions.
Explaining tenancy expectations solely through a lease – Students can find lease structures confusing, especially in a second language such as English.Clearly express your expectations of tenants verbally or through email.
Making assumptions about a student’s rental or living experience in or out of the U.S. Ask questions throughout the student’s application, occupancy, and move-out stages.

Be patient. It can be stressful renting in a foreign country. Keep in mind that many countries don’t take leases as seriously as the U.S.