Many people take good care of their rented homes, and some even improve them. But every landlord is ultimately taking a chance in handing temporary control of such a valuable asset to a stranger.
The good news for property investors is that, with just a little preparation, this risk can be minimised. At the end of the day, no landlord wants to have to pay for repairs at the end of a tenancy, and no tenant wants to lose their deposit.
So to reduce one-off repair costs, why not consider the following?
1. Surface guidance – To save a whole heap of trouble and expense, remember these two rules: (1) taps and carpets don’t mix. Bathrooms, kitchens and utility spaces should be laminate, lino or tiles. No exceptions! And: (2) paint is better than wallpaper. Touching up a few spots is infinitely easier than applying (or trying to match) a whole new roll.
2. Stop doors – Fit doorstops to all your doors to save plastering damage caused by accidental (or purposeful) knocks. Practically unnoticeable, this is a tiny cost which can lead to big savings.
3. Stay high and dry – Installing extractor fans and dehumidifiers can stop mould and damp becoming long-term problems. A tenant who doesn’t keep your property aired won’t only leave you with an expensive bill; their legacy is likely to make it more difficult to recruit future tenants.
4. Ground maintenance – Consider hiring a gardener for your property … and adding the price to the rent. Not all tenants will see gardening as a priority and, once neglected, it’s difficult and time-consuming to bring a garden back to good health. A gardener can help to stay on top of the situation and ensure a pleasant outside environment for current and future tenants.
5. Neighbourhood watch – Building a relationship with your property’s neighbours is invaluable. Don’t ask them to spy on your tenants (!) but a friendly conversation every so often shows that you care about each other’s properties and their surroundings. Most neighbours are very happy to get to know the long-term owner of a property, as well as the people that live there.
We could list many, many more tips – feel free to contact your local Open Door office for more ideas – but just a few simple steps can significantly decrease your chances of being stung with hefty repair bills.
Of course, you may already have the perfect tenant who takes scrupulous care of your property. If so, hold onto them! We’ll be talking through some of the best ways to retain tenants in the next blog.