As unbelievable as it sounds, 2018 is a mere fortnight away, so we thought it would be a good idea to offer a single piece of advice that all landlords would do well to take heed of once the first of the first rocks round once again. What is this pearl of wisdom? Improving your property maintenance regime.
Now, we know that some of you will be saying to yourself that you already do all you can, but is that really the case? Are you 100% positive your property maintenance is second to none? If it isn’t, you could lose out in a number of ways.
Improving your property maintenance can save you time, money, and, in some instances, even your reputation. With three important factors like these at stake, wouldn’t you want to ensure you’re doing all that you can to keep them safe?
Of course you would, but what exactly can you do to make sure your property maintenance is up to scratch? Here are a few suggestions:
Be proactive, not reactive
The single most important thing you can do to improve the maintenance of your rental properties is to deal with major problems before they occur, and the easiest way to do this is by being proactive rather than reactive.
What does this mean in plain English? It simply means addressing smaller issues quickly in order to help avoid larger problems occuring at all. This sounds like common sense and something that every landlord would be doing already, but the truth is somewhat different.
Lots of landlords regard little niggles as nothing more than minor inconveniences, so they often get left. While it may save you money in the here and now, short-term thinking can be expensive, and it’s a habit you’d be wise to get out of.
A far better way to approach it would be to take care of any issues that arise as soon as they happen...and to plan for future problems before they do. That brings us nicely to...
Plan for problems before they happen
We’re not talking crystal ball stuff here, many property maintenance issues can be predicted, planned for, and, therefore, avoided if you’re willing to take the time to give things a little thought. The best time to do this planning? Right now.
Think about issues that may occur over the coming 12 months. It’s usually best to split the year up into seasons, as each will bring its own potential maintenance headaches. Covering all the major issues for each time of the year will allow you to check your property to ensure that all is well before the season starts. Had you have had such a plan in place this year, there would have been no concerns over burst pipes when last week’s cold snap hit, as you would have already checked the quality of the lagging, for example.
So, write out a plan for 2018 that covers seasonal issues and be sure to listen to what your tenants are telling you, too. Treat them as an early warning system rather than a nuisance and you could save yourself a lot of trouble further down the line.
Carry out annual checks each and every year
While the above will stand you in good stead for any seasonal issues that may affect your property, there will be other maintenance hassles you’ll have to deal with as part of being a landlord. There is, however, a way to minimise their impact: carry out annual maintenance checks...and act on them!
Take your car as an analogy here. All vehicles over three years of age need to pass an MOT (Ministry of Transport) test in order to prove their roadworthiness. Even newer cars will be regularly serviced to ensure that all is well, so why don’t we treat our rental properties the same way? It doesn’t make sense; especially when you consider the amount of money involved.
Performing annual checks will allow you to see any issues that may be occurring in your rental property with your own eyes, and that will give you the opportunity to bring point one into play. Knowing there is something that needs doing in your property is half the battle won, as you will be able to address the problem before it gets too out of hand.
There are also other benefits to this as well. Fixing a smaller problem will be cheaper and you’ll be able to use the contractor you want to use, rather than crossing your fingers and hoping they’re free when you call them in an emergency.
Another bonus is the way your tenant will regard you as their landlord. If you know there is non-urgent work to be completed, you can schedule the maintenance to be carried out at a time that is most convenient for them, such as when they are away on holiday, for example.
Small displays of consideration can go a long way to cementing your relationship with a good tenant, and that is something every landlord should be striving for. After all, we all know that happy tenants means happy landlords!
Improving the way you handle your property maintenance tasks can help your buy-to-let business thrive, and it will actually remove a lot of headaches for you in the process, too. Not only that, keeping on top of small jobs will go a long way to preventing bigger problems from occurring, which in turn will also ensure that your property value doesn’t suffer and keep your tenants happy as well.
If you’d like more information on property maintenance or simply want a no-strings recommendation on a local contractor in West Essex or East London, give us a call today on 020 8989 2091.