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  • Buy-to-Let

    Installation of a gate


    I received a call from the estate agent who is marketing my rental property. She mentioned that a tenant would like to take the property but she has two requsts

    1 To be able to decorate the property

    2 To be allowed to install a gate at the back of the house to allow car parking. Presently there is a small gate and fences with pillars. The cost will be solely the tenants

    Regarding point 1, would you allow this in your property which currently is painted white.

    Regarding point 2, would you also allow this and how would you ensure the work is done to a high standard so that I am not having to carry out remedial repairs at a later date.

    Also do these points need to be mentioned in the tenancy agreement



    On Point 1) make sure the AST states that they must restore decoration to white at end of Tenancy, but permit tenant to decorate during occupation.

    2)  Allow, if you are ensure it does not detract form value of house, and that you have final say over conractor used, and to your satifactrion, again written into the AST.

    Definitely 1) and 2) must be in the AST


    I like it when tenants ask for stuff like this as it means they tend to really like the property

    Therefore they are likely to stay longer and turn my house into their home

    It means you have bought well  and  your property is in essence desirable

    Give and take discussions are natural  - so yes be open to that conversation

    Some LL`s get too controlling here and dismiss it out of hand and sometimes miss a trick

    Tenants often though   enhance my property and  in doing so  add value and all at very little  cost to me

    I have taken it a stage further and actively go searching for trades tenants  now

    I am  actively biased towards people who have trades and a can do attitude to enhance my property

    So use this as a learning curve to maybe greater deals to be made with tenants in the future

    How good did I feel 2 years ago when a tenant added 10 - 20K to a property at no cost to me

    How good does it feel when you get the before and after valuation from the agent

    The only cost to you is just a bit of extra DD at the outset which is what you are rightly doing by asking this question

    . I take a few before and after pics with the redecoration

    I have had like you a request to install double gates for a car  instead of a pedestrian gate

    Parking was tight in the street and the garden was massive so it enhanced it for them .

    It also enhanced future  rentability  and saleability if I were to sell

    The words `allocated parking `or `off road parking` are often music to a renter or buyers ears

    So safeguard yourself as per Terry`s suggestions to ensure you are covered

    My agreements are 95% verbal as I self manage and have only myself to blame  to if it goes wonky

    In the 5% that go wonky the next tenant puts it right . But better safe than sorry and cover the agreement in the AST

    So yes  see how it goes and use the experience as you go forward to save and make you more money

    With your next purchase look for a run down property and a can do attitude tenant

    Tenants are a gold mine of free labour from which both you and they can be winners

    I cannot remember when painting and decorating labour expenses last appeared on my tax return

    Good Luck


    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    I like your comment.

    Are you really saying you buy a run down property and then rent it out without doing much, but finds a handy tenant who are likely to do it up? Are you not getting a lower rent in the beginning?


    Yes . I look for non pretty properties to buy and buy at a discount from  the start

    I locate a  tenant who can see through the shell and sees it as a blank canvass to work on

    As tenant  demand is so high then this presents no problems

    And yes sometimes i reduce the rent or say... I pay for the paint but not the labour

    But just may sure you win  - £50 pcm off the rent means a lot to a struggling couple maybe

    Thats £600 a year saved for them . But if you have saved £1200 in costs then you are both winners

    I may say we will knock the rent down for a year but back to MV rent after that

    They see it as a welcome discount -  as the first year is often the hardest to get settled in

    Each situation is a bespoke approach . Flexibility and a willingness on both sides is the key

    You work for each other to both attain your respective goals

    But often  this model works better with  LHA  as the rent is government set anyway so no need to reduce it

    The LHA rate goes with the person , not the prettiness or even size of the property.

    I use to buy two properties for the price of one following this philosophy

    LHA tenants  also have time on their hands so can put in the hours

    I sometimes then upgrade them as their family grows  and we do the same again

    Trust grows over time - It often turns into effect  a mini business partnership

    With an LA involved it gets in the way - Take control and you can agree between yourselves


    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    Yes I agree with Jonathan. It’s good to get a tenant who takes care

    Painting. Yes ask for neutral colours to be restored at the end. Normally some beige is ok for most tenants.

    Gates: do you think it’s necessary? Would it enhance the property? If so, then you should pay for these yourself.


    I give my tenants a totally free range of colours or wallpaper

    Especially the children's rooms

    Be that Spiderman, Winnie the Pooh or their fave football club

    It wins the hearts and mind of any prospective tenants

    The knock on benefits for that small concession are immeasurable in my view  down the years

    My thinking  is that in say 25 years it will have had say 10 tenants through the door

    I will only worry about neutral then  - when i may come to sell

    Also if they are offering to pay for the gate not sure I would want to jump in there myself

    I would stay quiet and just nod approvingly when they mention it

    I`m nice but not that nice


    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com