Some key distinctions exist between student housing and family housing. Here are some of the significant differences found between the two.

 There are some key similarities between multifamily and student housing regarding the construction types and the methods used for building. Still, when the design team is involved, they can transform a home from the perfect multifamily property to something more adequate for student living.

Some crucial differences are specific to making student housing a unique challenge. There are varying nuances between the building size, unit, and organization. Fundamental differences are also found in the theory of design to create a flourishing residential community. Every critical component of the building must be understood and informed by knowing the student resident.

Rental approaches

Rental agreements are very different between student and family scenarios. An apartment rental agency could ask for a guarantor for students who have no evidence of making monthly payments in a living situation, while families looking for an apartment may be able to provide this. Families will often require a longer lease on the property they are renting, giving more security to the landlord and allowing them to build a stronger relationship. Student living is often fast-paced, with just a year or even less on the tenancy agreement. This has allowed some landlords to offer higher prices, but the faster pace of living means there could be potential damages.


Student apartments, in the majority of cases, have much smaller kitchens than multifamily apartments. The apartments are usually much more extensive, with anywhere between four and six students living in one place. For students choosing a more luxurious standard of living, accommodation will tend to include private bathrooms, making their stays a little more comfortable. To balance this luxurious lifestyle with the need to socialize, many apartments include extensive community spaces such as game rooms, study lounges, and various active amenities. There are wing breakdowns at every level of academic and social spaces to create cohesive and identifiable communities where students can get to know their neighbors and develop lasting relationships with them.

Parity is vital in student housing since students rent by bedroom, not square foot. This makes pricing simple. Because of this, there are fewer unit types in a single-family home, and the units stack pretty regularly. As long as fewer units are included in a building, it remains affordable for students while providing them with a rich academic and social environment.


Student residential properties also impact how the facade is designed. For instance, you are unlikely to find a balcony on a property built to target students. Many owners believe that there is too much liability surrounding this type of feature. You may also notice that many student properties feature more windows than you would see in a multifamily accommodation option, as it is mandated as a standard to include one window per bedroom.

Parity measures demand a more stringent adherence to the standard unit size and prevents the happening of the exterior from undulating to create the illusion of elevation. The culmination of these limitations gives designers an enormous challenge to develop exciting facades that bring a sense of luxury, especially when the usual tools found with standard multifamily designs are removed. The goal is to achieve simplicity and restraint in using materials and patterns, using disciplined strategy moves.

While the building form of multifamily housing and student housing have many similar crossovers, the need of student residents is driving innovations in creating spaces to promote an experience for students that is stimulating enough to learn and develop while still feeling comfortable enough there is a sense of home where they reside. It presents significant challenges for designers to accommodate this population and an excellent opportunity to advance a young generation’s academic and social development through housing.


The idea of a student resident differs from the traditional multifamily occupancy of young professionals and families. Due to this separation, the design for student housing and its residents is fundamentally different as the intent is to try and persuade students to spend as much time out of their room as is practical. Young professionals and families are given the opposite persuasion.

Those residing in a standard multifamily project demand much more privacy than student residents who want to befriend roommates and neighbors, learning through gaining new experiences as much as possible. Students have a particular set of needs which do sometimes require a high level of privacy; it is encouraged that they are out in study groups, connecting with other students on campus or their course, and engaging in the academic culture.

There are some critical differences between rental properties regarding student and multifamily housing. With students living faster-paced lives and wanting to gain new experiences and learning skills that will help them in the future, the place they reside needs to accommodate this.

Tags | Rentals

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