I’ve lived in lots of rental properties over the years, some of them in great shape and some of them about an inch shy of being condemned.
What separates those two ends of the spectrum isn’t so much to do with the landlord – I’ve been lucky enough to have very nice landlords – as the preparations they make before tenants arrive.
Today I’m going to write briefly about some of the things you can do to keep your rental property looking newer, and in better condition, for longer.
Use The Right Kind Of Paint
Sounds simple, but it’s one that people still get wrong sometimes. I specifically mention paint rather than wallpaper because the latter can look shabby when it starts to peel.
My rough guide to paint:
- Living, dining and bedrooms – Matt (err, that’s the paint, not your mate)
- Kitchen – Vinyl satin emulsion, which can be wiped clean if necessary
- Bathroom – Vinyl silk emulsion, which resists condensation, or a paint specifically designed for bathrooms
Keep Extras Handy
A pot of paint in the airing cupboard. Some extra tiles in the loft. Extra handles for cupboards. These are the sorts of things that turn projects that you’ll “get around to eventually” into minor jobs that take virtually no time.
Find a tenant who’s a bit handy and they might take on some of the really small jobs without even bothering to contact you.
Quality Extractor Fans And Ventilation
Hands down, one of the worst parts of moving home is trying to clean the grease off the kitchen ceiling. You can never avoid this problem completely, but a good extractor fan can keep it cleaner for longer.
Likewise, proper ventilation in the bathroom reduces the amount of cracking and sweating the walls will suffer when tenants (inevitably) forget to open the window before taking a shower.
Adequate Hanging Space
If there aren’t enough places to hang towels or wet clothes, they’ll end up getting stuffed down the back of a radiator.
This isn’t good for the walls behind the radiators as it raises moisture levels (hello, mould), not to mention the fact that it produces that awful wet dog smell.
A £10 clothes dryer or installing a washing line outside are two easy solutions.
Access To A Lawnmower/Tools
There’s more to a property than just the rooms within it. You also have to consider the exterior and, if there is one, the garden.
It may be in the contract that tenants need to keep this well-tended but, unless there’s a lawnmower there, they probably won’t do anything with the garden until it’s starting to look like the Amazon rainforest.
A manual mower (which will only set you back about £20) and a few spare tools make it much easier for tenants to keep the exterior looking sharp.
You might be balking at the prospect of spending more money – a buy-to-let property is hardly an insignificant investment after all – but, given that the above could save you hundreds of pounds in the long run, I think it’s worth it.