It’s in both a landlord’s and tenant’s best interests if a rental property is as durable as possible. So what can you do to make a home you own maintenance-free?
As a landlord, when you purchase a rental property, it’s essential that you don’t look at it as if you’re buying your own home – this is an investment that will likely see many tenants coming and going over the years. For this reason, it’s important that it’s durable enough to cope with a swap over of renters and is as maintenance-free as possible.
Not only will durable features help your property stay smart and presentable in the long-term, allowing you to let it quickly to new tenants, a maintenance-free home will help your tenants look after the property more easily, which will keep it looking neat and tidy.
So what can landlords do to make their properties more durable? Take a look at these ten ways:
1. Look beneath your feet
Flooring can become particularly damaged and grimy during a tenancy, especially in areas that experience heavy foot traffic. As ever, it’s important to go for neutral flooring colours – if you’re choosing carpet, dark browns and greys will work best. However, carpets and wooden floors aren’t always the best options for rental housing, as they typically suffer the most damage. A good laminate floor will work well in living spaces and hallways, while ceramic tiles are hardwearing for kitchens and bathrooms.
2. Consider the cleaning
While you can’t tell your tenants to keep the property tidy, you can expect them to clean it regularly. To encourage them, it’s important to make sure that their home is easy to clean. Simple fixtures and fittings will ensure that they don’t have hundreds of nooks and crannies to work around, while basic kitchen and bathroom suites will make removing everyday grime a little bit easier. Remember that most tenants won’t require luxury, so keep things modest. If they’re not cleaning things well enough, remember to raise this during periodic inspections.
3. Add plastic windows and doors
Wooden windows can be particularly bothersome – not only are they less energy efficient, but they require a lot of TLC. If your rental property doesn’t have uPVC windows and doors, it’s a great investment to make. Not only will they demand less maintenance on your part, they will also improve the energy efficiency of your property, which is great news for your tenants’ bills.
4. Cut back the garden
Although tenants with children will jump at the prospect of having a large garden, most tenants – particularly young professionals – are unlikely to want something too difficult to maintain. To avoid finding the garden overgrown with plants and shrubs at the end of a tenancy, consider ways to cut back on garden space before your tenants move in. Perhaps you could create a patio area and add some potted plants?
5. Replace the boiler
Boilers can cause some of the biggest problems for landlords – they can break down often and old ones aren’t very economic for your tenants. To avoid countless calls from your tenants about issues with the heating, consider investing in a brand new model. Not only will this cut down on your tenants’ utility costs, but it will also help you comply with the Government’s new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)* for rental properties, reminds Just Landlords, a leading provider of award-winning Landlord Insurance.
6. Head up to the loft
You may forget what impact the loft of a house can have on the overall state of the property. To prevent large-scale damage, it’s important to uncover any small issues before they get out of hand. Head up to the loft with a torch and look out for any spots of daylight peeking in – these holes could cause destructive leaks, so it’s best to catch them early. Adding the correct insulation to the loft and pipes will also help keep as much heat in as possible, which your tenants will thank you for when the cold weather arrives.
7. Conduct regular maintenance
Although you should leave your tenants to enjoy your property while they’re living there, it’s essential that you conduct repairs as quickly as possible when they’re reported and carry out periodic inspections to check over the property. Consider visiting every quarter to begin with, then go twice a year once you are confident that your tenants are looking after the place. Look out for any minor maintenance jobs that need doing, to avoid them getting worse and ending up costing you lots of money.
8. Pick up some draught excluders
Making your property more durable doesn’t have to be expensive. Simple things, such as picking up some draught excluders, can make a huge difference without costing a fortune. When the cold weather finally arrives, your tenants will thank you for helping the heat stay in. Not only will this help to protect your property against the perils of winter, but it will also make the home cosier for your tenants, which should encourage them to look after it.
9. Allow your tenants to decorate
Many landlords prohibit their tenants from decorating their properties, for fear that they’ll add bright colours and over-personalised décor that will put future tenants off. However, allowing your tenants to repaint the walls or add some tasteful wallpaper could help them feel more at home; when they’re comfortable in a property, they are more likely to respect it and keep it in a good condition. Freshly painted walls will also tick off a job on your list – just write a clause in the tenancy agreement that requires them to decorate in neutral colours or provide the paint yourself.
10. Prevent condensation where possible
Condensation can cause massive problems in your property, such as mould and damp, which can also be detrimental to your tenants’ health. Unfortunately, condensation is a big problem in rental properties, so it’s important to prevent it where possible. Just Landlords has a helpful guide that landlords and tenants can use, with some good tips: https://www.justlandlords.co.uk/news/landlords-guide-condensation-control/
Durable rental properties that are as maintenance-free as possible are essential to making sure you don’t lose money or tenants – and improving the durability of your investment doesn’t need to break the bank! Simply look at these ten ideas to get started.
*From April 2018, it will become illegal for landlords to grant new leases on properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating below E. The MEES will apply to all tenancies from April 2020.