Canadian Schools Reach for New Commercial Property Solutions for Returning Students

Aug 2021

As university students return to school, new kinds of student housing have grown in demand. In Vancouver, quarantine housing is in high demand to accommodate the international students returning to UBC. The university has designated 160 units for self-isolation so far, and even hotel partners have provided quarantine rooms. (1)


Renting a room or a house privately is the most popular and common choice among students. Most of these properties are managed by landlords as private rental properties. Depending on the size of the building, students usually live with a number of housemates or flatmates. Typically, they are located in high-density areas with a high concentration of students, although they can also be found in more diverse areas as well.


Why Property Owners Invest in Student Housing


Real estate can be an excellent investment, and in real estate, student housing has become one of the most sought-after commodities. A 2018 study found that private market commercial real estate returned an average of 9.85 percent. Student housing is considered a wise investment for a number of reasons: it offers potential cash flow, stability, and diversified revenue streams.


Student Housing Offers Greater Stability Than Other Types of Commercial Real Estate

Typical commercial real estate presents a stability problem since properties such as retail offices are closely tied to business cycles. When it’s not sale season, for example, cash flow may be more difficult.


Contrary to what most people think, student housing isn’t strictly seasonal. Many student apartments and houses follow a new model of 12-month leases, which ensures rent is paid even after students go home for the summer. To guarantee these payments, the students’ parents typically cosign, providing an additional layer of security.


Affluent Properties Offer a Diversified Source of Revenue

In affluent neighbourhoods, the students’ parents are the ones who pay the rent. Most of these parents are homeowners with steady incomes, so the property owner’s net operating income is likely to be more stable with less risk of turnover costs or evictions.


The combined income from these and the cosigned parents can create a well-diversified and relatively low-risk revenue stream when investing in a house or apartment complex with hundreds of students.


The Right Insurance Coverage for Student Housing Property Owners


Companies renting out student accommodation properties need an insurance product that covers most types of property damage like fire, water damage, and windstorm damage. Having this type of property insurance also protects the insured against various lawsuits that can arise from owning a student rental.


Common student rental properties will need the following types of coverage:

● Buildings and contents, including the house structure and its contents.

● Rental income protects the insured’s income loss in case their tenants are unable to occupy the property during a repair.

● Equipment Breakdown covers sudden breakdowns of equipment such as boilers or electrical panels.

● General Liability Insurance protects the insured in case their tenant is injured while on their property, for instance, a slip and fall on an icy walkway.

● Flooding and Sewer Backup

SWG Property: Commercial Property Liability


SWG PROPERTY – Commercial Property Liability is designed to cover hard-to-place property accounts. We can accommodate most realty-type risks, from stand-alone rentals and vacant dwellings to large commercial risks, with an in-house capacity of up to $6,000,000.


Coverage Highlights:

● Broad Form or Named Perils

● Replacement Cost


● Dependent on individual risk, age, construction, occupancy and town grade

Other Coverages Include:

● Business Interruption, Rental Income

● Flood, Quake, Sewer Backup

● Crime – including Employee Dishonesty & Broad Form Money & Securities

● Mechanical Breakdown

Extension Packages:

● Personal Property of Officers and Employees

● Growing Plants, Trees, Shrubs or Flowers in the Open; Limited to $1,000 per plant

● Accounts Receivable

● Stock Spoilage

● Building By-Laws

● Inflation Protection

● Exhibition Coverage

● Automatic Fire Suppression System Recharge Expense

● Brands and Labels

● Fire Fighting Expenses

● New Acquired Locations (30 Days)

● Building

● Equipment and Stock (Contents)

● Debris Removal

● Peak Season Increase

● Contents Off-Premises in the custody of Sales Representatives

● Land and Water Pollution Clean-Up Expense (Annual Aggregate)

● Building Damage by Theft

● Extra Expense

● Valuable Papers

● Off-Premises Services Interruption

● Electronic Data Processing Equipment and Media

● Systems Breakdown Coverage

● Fine Arts

● Maximum value of any one item; Any One Occurrence

● Installation Floater

● Professional Fees

● Exterior Building Glass

● Signs

● Master Key



Most realty type risks are written on a “Premises” type form but full CGLs including Tenant’s Legal Liability is available.


What else we cover:


Includes but is not limited to the list below. Contact us if you don’t see what you’re looking for.

● Apartment Houses (with/out commercial occupancies)

● Campgrounds

● Food Trucks/Hotdog Carts/Chip Trucks

● Hotels/Motels

● Rented Dwellings

● Retail Stores

● Rooming Houses

● Strip Plazas

● Vacant Property

For more information about our policy, visit


Content is current as of the date of broadcast and is subject to change without notice.