17 Feb How to Make Your Rental Property Low Maintenance
How to Make Your Rental Property Low Maintenance
More and more people choose to invest in rental property as a way to generate extra income. But in order for landlords to attract and retain quality tenants and keep rental yields high, the property must be kept in good order. Unfortunately, property maintenance costs can soon add up, eating into your profit margin. So, what can be done?
We’ve put together some helpful tips to help you save money as a landlord while providing a comfortable, practical and attractive property for your tenants to live in. That way you can ensure that your buy-to-let property is not only low maintenance but will stand up to the inevitable wear and tear.
Durable flooring rather than carpets
Carpets may be cosy underfoot but they’re also easily stained, worn and damaged, particularly in high traffic areas such as entryways and living areas. Add children and pets into the equation and the lifespan of fitted carpets is even shorter. Regular carpet cleaning can be expensive and new carpets even more so – and the cost mounts up if you have several investment properties to maintain.
Hard flooring surfaces such as laminate, vinyl or engineered hardwood floors, on the other hand, are made to withstand heavy foot traffic and will provide a much longer-lasting solution for your rental property. They are also much easier for your tenants to keep clean. Luxury vinyl tiles or planks can be extremely cost-effective over the long term – they’re soft to the touch, water and stain-resistant and extremely durable. There’s a huge choice of realist hardwood designs available from suppliers such as Karndean Design flooring, which also have a more affordable range called PaleoClick “which doesn’t usually require floor preparation and clicks together like laminate and looks stunning when fitted,” explains one flooring expert.
Consistent, neutral colour palette throughout
Decorating each room in a different colour may create visual interest in your rental property but it also makes it more difficult and costly to maintain. What’s more, colour is a very personal choice – one tenant may love your room scheme while another may hate it. In order to appeal to the broadest audience, it, therefore, makes sense to tone it down and keep the colour of the walls and trims in neutral shades, using the same colour palette throughout the property or properties.
Also bear in mind that matte white paint shows up marks and stains far more than any other paint. While it may be tempting to simply paint the entire property white to maximise space and light, it will require redecorating more often. Off-whites such as cream, ivory or grey shades are much more forgiving. Finally, make sure that whatever paint you choose is hard wearing and will stand the test of time for longer, particularly in areas where spillages occur such as kitchens.
Practical kitchens and bathrooms
Kitchens and bathrooms are key areas in any property, both in terms of functionality and maintenance. Many rentals don’t have a dedicated living room, which makes the kitchen/diner the most used room in the house. Here are a few useful tips to help you make these spaces practical while preventing wear and tear.
- Choose plain kitchen units over detailed cabinetry. Not only is there less chance for dust and grime to settle into grooves, but slab door styles also won’t date quickly and can easily be repainted if need be. Usefully, they also tend to be the most budget-friendly option.
- Laminate kitchen worktops are more practical than wooden countertops and a great deal cheaper than granite, quartz and other natural stone surfaces. If you’re looking for an affordable solution for rental properties that is easy to clean, attractive and durable, you can’t go far wrong with laminates.
- Go for large bathroom tiles in a neutral colour scheme for maximum longevity and ease of maintenance. Larger tiles are more likely to withstand trends without looking dated, while a darker grout will stay looking cleaner for longer.
Periodic property inspections
Once your rental property is in pristine condition and ready for letting, make sure that you check your maintenance upgrades throughout the year. When tenants are in situ and you wish to inspect the state of the property, you have an implied right to do so according to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.
However, you must give your tenants at least 24 hours notice of inspection as well as a genuine reason why you wish to inspect the property. While your tenants will no doubt be pleased that you are taking an active interest in keeping the property in good condition, don’t forget that one of the key principles to a tenancy is exclusivity – the occupier has the exclusive possession of premises for a period of time and pays rent.
Furnishing your rental property should not be overshadowed by interior design considerations, it should be approached with a keen commercial eye too. Practicality, durability and longevity are key factors in your choice of materials, fixtures and fittings to enable you to keep your property maintenance costs low.
Choose wisely – low price is not always the best option – and opt for solutions that can withstand the wear and tear of one or several tenancies, and are built to last. That way, you’ll find it easier to keep your rental property in tip-top condition, and make it easier for tenants to keep their home clean and tidy – a win/win all round.