Top 15 rental property maintenance tips to save money on your rental property
Guest post by Chris Fitzakerley, managing director from an award-winning letting agency NGU Home Lettings
Wear and tear on a rental property is inevitable unfortunately. Sometimes, we find ourselves having to undertake rental property maintenance and repairs after short interavals following an update, which can be both frustrating and costly. Here are some tips that we use ourselves as property investors and also advise our landlord clients to follow with our letting agent hat on:
- Put hard tread matting in the entrance to encourage your tenants to wipe their feet.
- Paint the exterior door step black - a lot better than touching up white every tenancy agreement.
- Put laminate flooring in your living room/diner- these are your traffic areas and while more expensive, laminate will last longer than carpet.
- Fit a UPVC ceiling in your kitchen/bathroom - you will no longer have condensation problems on the ceiling and you will no longer have to touch up the ceiling after every tenancy.
- Tile the floor do not fit vinyl - your tenant will just rip the vinyl when they drag their washing machine across the floor or when they take it out at the end of the tenancy.
- In wet areas (kitchen and bathroom) remove the skirting boards and replace with tiles for your skirting. Looks fantastic and you will never have to touch up your skirting boards again.
- Instead of tiling the reveals in your bathroom, put UPVC reveals instead. These are the areas that are most prone to condensation and your tenants generally will put their washing products on the window sills causing the grout to discolour over time. If you use UPVC instead for this area then you will never have to re-grout your reveals and sill.
- Tile your bath panel instead of fitting a plastic one. A plastic one will just crack over time and will always need cleaning in between tenancy agreements next to the lip.
- If you fit a new bath, make sure you use longer brackets than supplied by most suppliers because they do not provide the best fitting to the wall. You will find that your bath will have a bit of movement in 1-2 years of it being fitted and you will have to pay for the seal around the bath to be done again as a result.
- If you have a typical working/benefit semi-detached/terraced property in the North East, in my experience you do not need to supply white goods. If you have an integrated cooker and hob remove them between tenancy agreements to reduce your future liabilities/ maintenance costs.
- If you are re-fitting your bathroom change the pull cord light switch to an external light switch. Over the years you will find that you will have a grubby light cord that will need reattaching to the ceiling through excessive wear and tear.
- Use bigger door bars (grip from both sides) than standard fittings. If you buy cheap door bars for your carpets - you will just find that 2-3 years down the line, your carpets will just start to fray.
- If budget is key, fit a white kitchen rather than a coloured one because you then do not have to spend additional money on end panels to match your kitchen fronts because they are already white.
- When fitting extractor fans make sure that they always come on when you turn the light on. Do not give the responsibility to the tenant to be able to turn them off and on.
- If you need to fit an internal door fit a solid wooden one not an egg boxed door. While they are more expensive, they will last a lot longer. If you go into a council property, all doors are solid wood- there must be a reason!
Rental property maintenance bonus tips exclusively for readers of The Property Voice:
- “Boutique” your property. People have a tendency to paint all walls magnolia which can make a property look bland when you do a walk round with a perspective new tenant. Make sure you add colour to rooms through feature walls - purple, greens or terracotta are great colours for feature walls. There is a reason why new build companies do this, so no reason to reinvent the wheel.
- Remove sheds when a property becomes empty. We try and reduce every liability that we have and having a shed with your property is not a real selling point in my opinion. Therefore why be responsible for when the shed roof needs re-felted or the glass window smashes and needs replaced.
The reason why we have been so successful at NGU Homelettings is that we are landlords ourselves. We know the inside tips that you need to be aware of to make sure that your rental property goes to plan. If you want to be with a letting agency that pays attention to the small details, including rental property maintenance, then we are ready to help.
The Property Voice Insight
I am a subscriber to the NGU Homelettings newsletter and to be honest I don't recall how. I do not have any properties in the north-east as yet...maybe I should! There is something in the content of Chris's updates and insights that appeals to me and I look forward to seeing the latest blog updates. I think the reason is that Chris is also a property investor as well as running a multi-branch letting agency and so he can see both sides of the coin. He also seems to have an eye for detail and practicality...which I at times do not have when it comes to the nitty-gritty of rental property maintenance. Remember that I prefer to give the problem to someone else...someone like Chris and his team to be honest 😉
Some really practical rental property maintenance tips are among this list; when I chatted to Chris about doing this guest post I instantly recalled the black door-step tip that I read months back...genius that!
Chris kindly provided a couple of bonus tips exclusively for this rental property maintenance feature. I like the boutique suggestion, which helps to make a property more appealing, lettable and potentially command a premium rent, which is similar to a concept that caught my attention in the past too.
As for the shed tip...I have a story to share here. I let a property with a shed and at the changeover of a tenancy the new tenants informed me that the shed was packed full of old mattresses and had a leaky roof but wanted to use the shed for extra storage. It cost me a few quid to get rid of the soggy, old mattresses, to fix the roof and make it safe for ongoing usage. This is as close as I will get to 'beds in sheds' I can tell you. So, it seems I should not have left the shed there in the first place...I only wish I had thought of that sooner...at least our readers will now be aware though, due to these rental property maintenance tips.
In conclusion, it is easy to get carried away or just not think longer-term when we spec out a property update / refurbishment prior to letting it out. However, having one eye on the future wear & tear and maintenance costs is certainly a wise idea and these tips go some way to helping us think in those terms and saving us money too! Thanks Chris for sharing, I hope our readers enjoy it too!