Look After your Property 1st Oct 2016
Maintaining the value of your rental property is essential. Increasing the value of your property is wise. There are various steps you can take:
Know your neighbours
If your rental property is in a shared block, then it is helpful to know the neighbours in order to deal with shared works in a timely and cost effective way. An increasing number of blocks are factored these days, however if yours is not then consider having an owners’ association with regular meetings. Even if you are not in a shared block, keep contact details for neighbours and ask them to report any property or tenant issues to you or to your letting agent if you have one. Bear in mind that Title Deeds and legislation such as the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004 set out rules for dealing with your neighbours.
Maintain your property externally as well as internally (see top tips below)
Keep an eye on external paintwork to the building and windows, ensure your gutters are kept clean, and have the roof checked for any necessary work. Internally you should be dealing with repairs as they arise, as well as giving the property a lick of paint regularly and upgrading furnishings, fixtures and fittings as needed. Dealing with things as they come up will save on longer term repairs if things are left to deteriorate and as a result become more costly. And if you have some money to spend consider upgrades to the property – windows, boiler, floors, kitchen worktops etc.
Save for repairs
A huge number of landlords do not make provision for repairs. It is essential you build in a contingency plan, as repairs are inevitable. Some groups of owners may pay regularly into a shared building reserve fund. Factors will bill for repairs which they will action. No matter what, plan ahead.
Use expert help
Your rental property is likely to be one of your biggest assets and as such you should do everything you can to protect it. Unless you know what you are doing and have the time to put into it, employ the services of a reputable letting agent. Your letting agent will be able to deal with everything, from a leaky toilet to a kitchen upgrade, whilst also making sure your property is fully compliant with all legal requirements.
Tenants rightly have high expectations of how their home should be, and in order to keep good, well-paying tenants you must invest. If your property is vacant, does it need any upgrading in order for it to let quickly and at a good price? As a landlord, if you invest in your property, you will not only achieve the best rent but you will also attract quality tenants and have minimal voids.
Top tips for getting good tenants
• First impressions count.
• The exterior of the building must look good – no flaky paintwork, cracks or holes.
• Do the window frames need to be refurbished or repainted?
• The front and back garden and the driveway must be tidy.
• Unsightly rubbish or recycling bins should be hidden away if possible.
• The interior fabric of the building must be in good repair – no cracks in the walls, broken tiles, cracked window panes, draughty windows, evidence of damp.
• Minor repairs should be attended to, eg - fix leaky taps, replace the grout and bath/shower seals.
• Redecorate – these days’ tenants expect properties to be freshly painted in neutral décor.
• Re-carpet – carpets should not be worn or dirty but should be of a good standard. Wooden flooring or quality laminate is desirable and so worth consideration.
• Blinds or curtains should match the décor, as should soft furnishings.
• Clean – properties should be clean and odour free.
• Modern matching furniture that meets all safety standards should be provided.
• De-clutter – accentuate light and space as much as possible.
• Consider fitting new appliances – fridge freezers, washing machines etc are expected to be provided. The inclusion of a dishwasher or tumble dryer may make your property stand out from the crowd.
• Do you have double glazing and central heating? If not consider investing in 1 or both.
• All safety certificates must be up-to-date.
If the rental property down the road looks a lot better than yours, then rest assured you will lose out. Tenants are looking for a home, and as such want a good well-presented property in a good location.
The Key Place offers a full range of letting services, and can deal with all of the above for you. If you want to take the stress out of letting contact us now for further information.