Letting your property can be a daunting task. Relying on strangers to look after and maintain the standard of your property can be difficult and to add to this stress with last years tax changes and the uncertainty of Brexit, everyone is trying to find a way to safe guard their assets and their cash flow.
With rents pretty much tied to location and size of property there is little way to maximise your return other than to keep your maintenance costs to a minimum. I am not suggesting not maintaining your property as this is clearly detrimental; however I have listed five ways below in which you could reduce your expenditure on a yearly basis and in turn improve your returns.
If you are letting your property through an agent they should already carryout regular inspections of your property, but are they looking for the same things that you need to know? I am not taking anything away from most estate agents however from your maintenance point of view I would suggest that you may wish to look a bit closer, or encourage your agent to look for you.
This may seem like it will cost more money, time or effort to start with however if you catch a lot of maintenance issues in the early stages it can greatly reduce the cost of repairs. This action will also lead to a greater degree of happiness for the tenant which is a greatly over looked aspect that we will discuss below.
Items that you will want to look at –
- Windows – For signs of damage (especially wooden)
- Doors – And their handles and locks for signs of detrition
- Signs of water leak – This is crucial as a full water leak can be extremely expensive.
- Check appliances – If you feel like they may be on their way out you can at least budget for replacement.
I could go on forever but remember we are not looking for how clean the property is being kept, we want to target any potential problems head on. This way we will generally be able to achieve a reduced maintenance cost.
Have a Good Relationship with Tenants
Again this does not mean that you need to look after them or become their best friends, but if you (or your agent) can build a good relationship between parties it will greatly reduce the pressure involved should the need for maintenance arise. If the tenants feel like the landlord is a nice person with everyones best interests at heart they will stay for longer and therefore reduce the costs involved with finding new tenants.
Tenants will generally move around especially in cosmopolitan cities like London, however if their rent is reasonable and maintenance issues are dealt with in a prompt and efficient manner they will be less likely to go looking or even find somewhere that is better suited to them. As landlords the tenants are our customers.
Tenants that feel like you are trying to look after the place for them will also be more inclined to notify you of even the smallest defect, this sounds like a bad thing but it actually helps to flag any issues that could potentially lead to bigger problems.
Property maintenance is not a place to start cutting costs on as a landlord. You may think that this is contradictory to this post but we have all heard the horror stories of someone that thought they could save some money by doing it themselves. It normally leads to works not being done very well, needing to be re-done or worse, causing more damage.
Certified trades like Gas and Electrics are crucial and if you are found to have done any of this yourself you could end up with huge fines at best. This could also lead to serious injury, loss or damage to property or even life!
In most circumstances when using an agent you will find that they have preferred tradesmen that they use on a regular basis. These are not always the cheapest but in most circumstances the sway the agent has over them can greatly improve the response time. The cheapest tradesmen are not always the best. If you are managing the property yourself look for recommendations, or companies that can carryout a multitude of works for you, this then means that you only need one point of contact and they will generally know the history of your property as well as you do over time.
Reducing your Letting Costs
In summary, Property Maintenance is a cost to your rental property that is not escapable, however if managed correctly you can not only reduce your monthly costs and improve your cash flow but can improve the value of your property as a whole.
Specialist property management and maintenance companies can greatly assist with this. Drop us a line and see if we can improve your property.Share