Preparing a Rental Property for New Tenants
In an ideal world, you wouldn’t need to worry about preparing a rental property for new tenants because the old ones would be staying put. But with the average tenancy in the UK only lasting 2.7 years, sooner or later you will have to say goodbye to the old tenants and welcome some new ones, so it pays to be organised.
Clean and Tidy
Some landlords never lift a finger between tenancies. That’s fair enough if the previous tenants were clean freaks and the property needs absolutely no work at all, but this is rarely the case. More often than not, once a tenant has moved out, the property will need a thorough clean from top to bottom as an absolute minimum. If the last tenant did a good job, you might not have to do anything other than have the carpets professionally cleaned, but if the property was left in poor condition, it is probably worth hiring contract cleaners to get the job done.
When there is a gap between tenancies, it is an ideal time to get all those little jobs done, the ones you haven’t been able to fit in for fear of upsetting your tenants. Larger projects such as kitchen or bathroom upgrades can take several weeks to complete, so the void period before a new tenant moves in is ideal. Other major upgrades such as the installation of new windows or a replacement boiler can also be slotted in between tenancies. After all, it is a lot easier to organise access for workmen when you don’t have to accommodate a tenant’s erratic schedule.
If you don’t have long until a new tenant takes up residence, use what little time you do have to check the property over and take care of any small issues before they snowball into large problems.
Painting and Decorating
All properties benefit from a lick of paint every so often, but rental properties endure a lot more wear and tear, so it is a good idea to decorate them between tenants. When it is your own home, you can afford to splash out on expensive wallpapers and eye-catching decorative schemes, but this is not a good idea in a rental property.
Most tenants prefer neutral colours because they are easier to match to furniture and nobody is going to be offended by magnolia walls. To save time and money, buy a job lot of commercial grade white or cream paint and spend a weekend painting every room in the property. It will freshen up the place and any dirty marks left on the wall from previous tenants will vanish as if by magic.
Prepare a Property Inventory
The last thing on the list is the property inventory. This is extremely important. An inventory catalogues everything in the property and provides written evidence stating what condition the property was in prior to the start of the tenancy. Ideally use a combination of photographs and written descriptions so there is no room for error.
Becoming a landlord can be a profitable and rewarding experience, but remember to pay attention to the details or you could get caught out.