All landlords accept that, from time-to-time, they will need to commit to a spend on repairing their rental property.
But with landlords costs taking a hit due to changing legislation on income tax deductions, making some savings elsewhere is key to many landlords' cashflow.
Taking on some of Martin & Co Camberley's money-saving tips when it comes to maintenance of your rental property could help...
STICK TO A ROUTINE MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE
Keeping your property maintained over a period of time, with a 'little and often' approach, can help keep the bigger jobs (and larger bills) at bay.
Make an initial inspection before new tenants move in and establish what areas will require regular upkeep and decide how often certain areas or appliances will be inspected.
Make frequent inspections, either yourself or through your managing agent, and monitor the condition of things like flooring, kitchen units, electric systems, heating and other appliances.
Even with good, long-term tenants in place, sticking to a schedule of routine maintenance can help avoid the need for expensive and intrusive repair work further down the line.
SHOP AROUND FOR GOOD CONTRACTORS
Even though this piece is about saving money, choosing the cheapest contractors to undertake work in your rental property is not always a sound pathway to reducing your costs.
As well as a contractor's hourly rate, take into account their skills and experience before engaging them in work. A cheaper contractor might take longer to complete work, or have to come back to get it to the standard you expect - on an hourly rate, this could cost you more in the long run than using a more expensive contractor.
Do they have a solid batch of testimonials from other landlords and clients? Are the parts they use under warranty?
How a contractor interacts with your tenants is also important - one of the most costly problems a landlord can encounter is a tenant who moves out because they have been left unhappy by work undertaken in their rental property.
Most importantly, try to use the same reliable contractor for routine maintenance work. They will be familiar with the property and your expectations on cost and this will save you money compared with using a variety of contractors.
DON'T ALLOW TENANTS TO COMPLETE WORK
While allowing your tenants to complete work themselves might seem like a cost-effective option, more often than not it is fraught with issues.
Most tenants will not have the skills to complete the work to a high standard and their poor efforts might have to be remedied by skilled contractors - costing you more in the long run.
Moreover, allowing tenants to arrange contractor work themselves is a mistake. Losing that control over the people entering your property to complete work and what they charge can be an extremely costly error.
In terms of your relationship with your tenant, always try to work around their needs when using contractors. Don't put off getting work done, but allow the tenant the freedom and quiet enjoyment of the property they are entitled to under the terms of your tenancy agreement.
DON'T OVER-DO YOUR DECOR
Wear and tear during a tenancy is inevitable. It's also not the tenant's responsibility so repairing wall scuffs, skirting board marks and carpets at the end of each tenancy term is a cost landlords must factor in.
This is where paying through the nose for delicate, high-finish surfaces can be a costly mistake. While a top-end finish might attract more potential tenants to the table, it won't change the amount of wear and tear on the property and fixing expensive fixtures and fittings can come back to bite landlords hard in the pocket.
Try to anticipate wear and tear and fit out your rental property appropriately. Finish the surfaces so they are easy to clean and remedy at the end of a tenancy - you want longevity here as that will save you huge amounts of money over the course of several tenancies.
CONCENTRATE ON KEEPING YOUR TENANTS
Under six-month tenancy agreements, you could be in a position where you have four different tenants in your rental property across a two-year period. That's a lot of moves and a lot of huge furniture coming in and out of your property.
It's also a lot of potential damage and repairs to walls, flooring and fixtures and fittings, not to mention wear and tear on appliances.
If you get a good tenant in place, focus on keeping them to avoid moves. And once you have them, educate them on ways they can look after the property and appliances without too much extra effort.
REVIEW YOUR BUILDINGS INSURANCE OFTEN
Stay in regular contact with your insurance provider to review your buildings policy. Know what is covered and what isn't and look to amend your policy for aspects not relevant to you or your rental property. This can save money and the extra saving could be applied to routine maintenance.
Always try to look at the bigger picture when working out your budget for repairs. Include the cost of things going wrong in your thinking - especially when it comes to making a tenant unhappy through work or a lack of it.
The tenant will likely move out, while they could also scare off other potential renters with poor online reviews of your property, all of which can result in huge costs as a landlord.
Looking to save money as a landlord? Pop into Martin & Co Camberley and speak to one of our local property experts today...