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It's hard to believe that January is almost over, and we are reaching the end of our "Get into the property groove for 2017" campaign!Today we focus on improving a rental property and maintaining your prize asset.The value of this is three-fold:1. Repairs and maintenance issues should be responded to within 24 hours of the tenant reporting them. This ensures that the tenant is not unduly affected by such issues, and a happy tenant will likely stay longer.2. It is better to spend money little and often to keep a property up to a high standard, than wait until it deteriorates. Prevention is always better, less expensive, and less stressful than cure in property, so regular repairs and maintenance will keep your property in good condition and will probably cost less than leaving it until a problem starts to get very expensive to resolve.3. It is most people's experience that a well maintained and comfortable home is respected by tenants and they are likely to keep the property well as a result.This guest article comes from landlord and professional property buyer Jason Harris-Cohen of Open Property Group*.As professional landlords, Open Property Group use their experience to improve standards in their rental portfolio. They are long term investors and therefore need to ensure that their properties are well suited to the rental market.OPG's objective is to constantly improve their gross to net rent ratio and create 'homes' for their tenants which they will respect and hopefully stay for years to come.Here are Jason's top tips to achieve that:- Install A rated double glazed windows which include trickle vents and request that tenants keep the trickle vents open at all times to improve air flow in the home. This can help reduce condensation.- Install quality taps and shower valves which benefit from a minimum of 10 years warranty. The upfront cost of the equipment is higher, however it will save you In the long run as you 'get what you pay for' - Install an 'A' rated gas boiler with a long warranty. Ideally a minimum of 10 years from Ideal or a similar manufacturer.- Fit removable bath panels to baths so that plumbers can access the hot and cold feed and waste if you have any leaks or plumbing issues.- Ensure that shower trays are watertight with no gaps where water can escape and cause leaks. Use quality mastic to 'waterproof' the area.- Regarding condensation issues - one option would be to install a ‘Nuaire Drimaster’ unit which provides positive input ventilation costing an estimated £550. Condensation dampness is more common than you may think particularly in older homes, and as winter sets in and temperature starts to drop many of us will notice the problem more. See - Solution for mould and condensation- Install kitchen appliances which have a minimum of 2 year warranty, albeit ideally I would suggest investing the extra money so that you can benefit from a 5 year warranty.*- Paint the walls with washable paint so that they can be touched up when the walls are scratched or marked.- Fit LED light bulbs. Many LEDs have a rated life of up to 50,000 hours. This is approximately 50 times longer than a typical incandescent, 20-25 times longer than a typical halogen, and 8-10 times longer than a typical CFL. Used 12 hours a day, a 50,000 bulb will last more than 11 years, which saves you the hassle of having to change light bulbs when tenants complain about them failing.- Ensure that you have a local team of trades to assist when there are general wear and tear problems. The most common issues relates to 'plumbing, electrics, roofing repairs and damp/condensation.- Floors are the biggest victim of wear and tear in any property because they receive the most physical contact, and that’s why I always spend a little extra on thick and durable carpets that can withstand heavy treading and toxic carpet shampoos. Carpet retailers should be able to advice you on which particular carpets are suitable for BTL properties. And, where I can, I use tiles on the floor (for reasons already explained).There are mixed feelings towards laminate flooring. Some find them durable and long-lasting (which they can be), but they’re also prone to malfunctioning. For example, if they get wet/moist, they expand, and that can cause problems. This frequently happens in the winter due to the moisture in the air, but also, most people clean laminate flooring with a wet-mop, which is a recipe for disaster.
*Note: Property Tribes Appliances has white goods with a 5 year parts and labour warranty.Thank you to Jason for supplying this guest article and please feel free to add any of your own tips.*Transparency notice: Open Property Group/Landlord Buyer are a commercial partner of Property Tribes.SEE ALSO - Check list for property inspectionsUP NEXT - Spotting defects before surveys DON'T MISS - Key to adding value?NOW WATCH:
Vanessa Warwick Landlord and Co-Founder of PropertyTribes.com **If you have got value from Property Tribes, find out how you can support it in remaining a free to use community resource**
I use repairs as part of my Key Strategy to reduce Income tax
I use my Managemnt Co to do all of my repairs and then charge a Management fee for all works completed
I schedule repairs one year in advance replacing roofs ,windows ,kitchens and Bathrooms
The Tenants love it and it makes very happy tenants stay
Its a win win win
Lower tax bill
And the profits from the Management Co go straight in my pension
What a result!
Learn Change and Adapt ?????
All comments are for casual information purposes only. If you wish to rely on any advice I have given please ensure you obtain independent specialist advice from a third party. No liability is accepted for comments made.
We have discussed your strategy in the past and I totally agree with it and intend to do the same.
Can you just confirm, do you do all the repairs yourself or do you outsource? If you outsource, do you pay those tradespeople from your management company?
I bring in other Companies to do the work and I manage it
I then charge a Management fee for the work
It works well
Just completed my first year as a Company Director and its good
This was something that I was discussing with a Land Lord friend of mine. Do you have a set % that you charge above the cost of your contractors, or does it vary dependant upon what is being done?
Hi, just a quick question about your management company strategy. Does the management company have to be a limited company for this to work? I'm guessing that if your paying it into your pension it will be.
I do it via a company from the advice from my tax advisor and it’s working a dream but I would check your own situation DL
Ahh that makes sense, very clever!
I was proposing to do some of the work myself (e.g. painting), however there will be other times where I call in a professional. Good to know I will be able to charge my company in both instances.
all the best