Sadly, property maintenance is definitely the UNSEXY side of property ownership, but THE most important aspect when it comes to protecting your asset, and your Tenants’ Health & Safety.
Letting Agents and Landlords LOVE properties in good condition because well-cared for buildings and property take less management time (and you will have happier Tenants).
As a rough guide, Landlords should set aside between 6 – 10% of all rent received just for maintenance. On a £1,250 rental income, this equates to £75 – £125 per month. If your Agent proposes setting up a floating fund of similar amounts, I wholeheartedly recommend it – when a dripping tap needs replacement (around £50-70, for starters), you’ll avoid many phone calls asking for permission to carry out a repair.
As Autumn and Winter approach, now is the time to check (and this is not an exhaustive list):
a) exterior brickwork – how is the pointing looking? Is ivy climbing the walls?
b) guttering – clear out those autumn leaves (your window cleaner may oblige) – who wants overflowing gutters causing damage to the building?
c) waste pipes and plumbing – I wish I had £0.20 for every time I’ve had to call out a plumber to deal with these problems. Leaks can cause extensive, and long-term, damage. Hot and cold water are bare necessities, and same-day repairs are essential. Frozen pipes – I shudder at the thought …
d) wiring – no ifs or buts – MUST BE SAFE. Use an approved electrician ie NICEIC and get Portable Appliance Testing done regularly. Electric heaters, kettles – all will be much in use during the coldest months of the year
e) heating – your Landlord Safety Certificate is required annually for Gas systems.
f) Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors – absolutely required with effect from 1 October 2015. At least one smoke alarm should be installed on every storey used as living accommodation, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel if used.
g) window blinds – your Tenants will be closing window blinds in the dark evenings – the blinds are compliant, aren’t they?
Arrange all the necessary checks before the start of the long winter months – prevention is better than cure!
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