Did you know that landlords' responsiveness to repair issues routinely ranks as one of tenants' top concerns? Addressing repair issues quickly is crucial to keeping your tenants happy, and staying longer at your property. Making sure that your property is well-maintained is just as crucial, as it may prevent breakdowns from occuring in the first place - saving you time on organising repair works.
Keeping a property in good shape requires some planning ahead - so we've put together the 3 most important things to keep in mind when thinking of how to keep your home in a good state.
Prepare a checklist
Many common issues can be anticipated or avoided by checking items on a regular basis - be that quarterly or annually. Every home is different and will have its own fixtures and appliances that require periodic attention, so it's good practice to prepare a checklist of the things you should look after. Some of the most common ones include:
- Checking for leaks, especially following strong rainstorms or after significant snowmelt
- Replacing air filters - such as in bathroom vents, conditioners, or kitchen vents
- Testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Re-caulk showers and bathtubs to prevent mold and leaks. Applying an anti-mould treatment regularly is also important in particularly damp rooms
- Tightening any handles, knobs, and locks
- Check fire extinguishers in HMOs
- Flushing water heaters or boilers
- Cleaning gutters
Keep an inspection schedule
Knowing when to check objects in your property is just as important as knowing what to look for.
Many landlords conduct inspections only when a tenant moves in, together with an inventory report. While this is a good opportunity to check if everything works at the start of a tenancy, it can sometimes lead to last-minute repairs if new issues are discovered only right when your tenants arrive at your property.
Bear in mind to check your property just as thoroughly when old tenants leave, and set aside a couple of days between tenancies - so you'll have enough time to address anything that went wrong in the property, and the new tenants will arrive to a fully functional home.
An even more effective method of making sure your property well kept is scheduling regular inspections at your property, even while it's currently rented. Your tenants will appreciate being looked after, and a 15 minutes long visit to their home once a year can save the headaches when unexpected issues occur.
Determining how much money to allocate for rental property maintenance expenses can be tricky. Many professional property managers use what they call the 1% rule: one percent of the total property value should be set aside to address rental maintenance expenses. Following this rule, a rental property valued at £200,000 would have a £2,000 annual budget line item for maintenance expenses.
Keep in mind this is only a rule of thumb. Factors such as the age of the property or cost of living in the area may require a larger or smaller annual budget for rental property maintenance expenses.
Even with the best planning, unexpected issues can still occur. Find out how to deal with them efficiently at Declan McDougall's breakout session on organising repairs fast, and leaving tenants happy with the outcome at the Tenant Satisfaction Summit!