Good property managers and landlords know the importance of keeping their rental properties well maintained. Not only are tenants entitled by law to have a safe and habitable living environment, it is also in the landlord’s financial interests to ensure that the property is kept in good condition. After all, without rent coming in regularly each month, a property is worthless.
When viewing the upkeep of your rental property, keep your perspective not only from the business side, but also from the tenants. Regular maintenance and management of your property will help prevent damage and decrease the likelihood of missed income in between tenants.
Through tenant’s eyes:
Prospective tenants viewing a neglected property are less likely to want to rent it. When your property is run down and uncared for it will attract the same type of treatment from a tenant. Like attracts like.
If you were putting a house up for sale, you’d want it to be in the best possible condition to attract the highest price. Finding a good tenant is no different.
Maintenance & ongoing management:
If a property does not receive ongoing general maintenance, and if repairs are not acted upon straight away, there are several consequences.
It’ll likely cost more and take longer when maintenance or repairs are eventually undertaken, and the value of a property in disrepair is significantly lowered, decreasing both its investment and rental income potential.
Many landlord insurance providers expect homeowners to maintain their property to the standards of the relevant Tenancies Act, and failure to do so could result in claims being denied.
Another factor which can affect the quality of tenant applying for a property is cosmetic maintenance. Touching up the paint job on interior walls when the property is between tenants is a simple task, and is reasonably inexpensive if landlords do it themselves. It may also enable you to add extra dollars to the rent that you charge the next tenant. The same approach applies to replacing aging fixtures and appliances.
Tenants are more likely to take pride in a well-presented property and treat it as if it were their own. Simple gestures such as a fresh coat of paint or gardening assistance can help to attract good calibre tenants and ensure the property remains well cared for.
Landlords also need to be aware that their property should be maintained regularly and that certain standards for repair are met. If your tenants inform you of a problem in need of repair you need to act immediately, however, preventative maintenance should be applied beforehand.
For example, if your rental property has a very large garden, make it easier for the tenant to maintain it so that they are less likely to let it go and turn it into a jungle. In this instance, you might think about the long term substitute for grass and bushes with something that requires less maintenance for both you and your tenants such as pebbles, gravel, bark or pavers.
Routine inspections can uncover potential problems and spark maintenance action before they worsen. The landlord may like to arrange routine maintenance on an annual basis such as checking drains and gutters, checking for signs of mould or damp, having air conditioners serviced, mending any broken or leaking fixtures and generally inspecting and repairing any aspects of the property that could present problems.
Examining fences and garden walls to ensure that they remain in sound condition, together with inspecting the roof and any chimneys for signs of damage, is vital.
Covering missed income:
First time property owners need to be aware that standard building and contents insurance will not cover a landlord for missed income if:
The tenant absconds;
The property is in the process of being re-let;
The policy limit is reached;
The property is not tenantable due to previous damage.
Combining the appropriate policy cover with diligent property management and maintenance will help to protect the financially longevity of the property, and can increase the market value and rental asking price in the longer term.
Landlord maintenance matters – not just for peace of mind, but for tenants, insurers and your bottom line, by by Carolyn Majda.