Ever more people choose to live on rent and move a lot rather than pay a mortgage and build a nest. This is one of the main reasons why the rental industry is blooming throughout the UK. Regardless of the major shock done by the Brexit phenomenon, the demand for housing grows at a steady pace and thus opens an opportunity for landlords to prosper.
Although these are great news for landlords, there is still a certain tiresome aspect that is absolutely mandatory - cleaning after old tenants move out and new ones move in, look out for damage and all appropriate actions that follow.
Both first-time landlords and well-experienced property managers admit that cleaning a property is one of the heftiest and most tiresome chores. Although unpleasant and effort-consuming, cutting corners is an absolute no-no or you will regret it in the long-term.
That’s why TheHouseShop.com has prepared a list of nifty tips to help both landlords and property managers handle the important chores between old and new tenants.
1. Landlords should always be present at check-out inspections
Check-out reports carry crucial role throughout the entire process of renting a property. Independent post and pre-tenancy inventory checks give both sides in any tenancy agreement the legal grounds to raise disputes and settle deposit deductions for damage and repairs.
Although inventory clerks are meant to carry an independent third-party adjudication of the condition of your entire property, your presence of the landlord is highly-advisable.
Move-out inventory inspections are the last moment for both sides to negotiate which fixes are a responsibility of the tenant, and which are supposed to be taken care of by the landlord (you).
What is fair wear and tear for the renter could be a subject for deductions on behalf the landlord.
Important note: Make sure you collect each and all keys you have provided, including copies, of course.
2. Keep your own record of visual proof for the actual property condition throughout the lease.
Photo and video material is the one sure way to prove anything in court.
Tenants will often open disputes over cleaning charges once they move out and taking precautions is how you can have the peace of mind. It is important to mention that photos are not always recognised as proof, due to low quality and the lack of details, but they are nevertheless an effective lever to hold your ground in case of legal disputes.
Nowadays you can take decent before and after shots with an average smartphone or camera. The better the quality and better chances are your photo records will hold in court.
What is best?
Spare a few hours every here and there to thoroughly photograph your rental property. You can use these photos update your online listings or even send them to prospects.
3. Make sure utility accounts are closed for good.
More often than not, renters will simply leave a property without closing any of their utility accounts. Why should they? It’s out of their responsibilities, not to mention that they’re out of the property for good. Trusting a tenant is always a bad move.
The clever way to avoid such unpleasant situations is to add an extra clause to your tenancy agreement by which you demand from tenants to provide proof of accounts being shut down appropriately.
If you fail to supervise this crucial step, you might end up facing hefty problems down the road (yes, that does mean financial losses).
Another way the landlord can proceed is to account for utilities yourself and charge your renters for what;’s due. This way you could keep an eye on how big bills are and thus avoid any unpleasant surprises once tenants leave.
4. Professional property cleaning and DIY?
Truth is, you can spend hours in cleaning a single property and still do a poor job compared to a team of 6 professional cleaners. According to The Tenants Voice, “more than half of deposit disputes (56%) are lead for insufficient, or have cleaning as part of a more complex dispute”.
BUT! That does not mean you can’t still do it yourself, right?
It will take you quite some time and effort but DIY post-tenancy cleaning is feasible.
Choose or create a thorough cleaning checklist and a another on to keep all maintenance and repairs tasks well-accounted for. These include basic domestic cleaning of bedrooms, living rooms, the kitchen, fridge and oven valeting, thorough bathroom treatment, steam or dry-chem carpets, switch and socket repair, changing smoke alarm batteries, and more.
Emphasise on the most used rooms and areas!
Once you finish your initial sweep of the property, come back for a second round and focus on areas commonly used. The kitchen is the most prevalent one to win or lose good prospect renters. Nobody want’s a dirty oven or a mouldy fridge.
If you do not to deliver a clean and appealing bathroom, free of leaks and mould, you might fail to attract the conscientious type of renter, all landlords are after. Good tenants keep a sharp eye on the overall hygiene of a rental property. Rusty showers, leaky pipes, bad odours and mould will surely push people away.
5. Take care of painting and decorating.
There isn’t a moment more suitable to repaint a rental property than in between tenancies. Landlords are advised to do it at least once every 12 months.
A fresh coat of paint should not be applied to walls alone. A proper housing renovation means to take care of ceilings, doors, window frames and even skirting boards. How often you should get professionals to repaint the exterior depends on the type of property - detached, semi-detached, apartment and etc.
Fresh patchwork and paint affect what impressions renters get first. This means that the investment is well-worth your money. If dents, wall marks or any other signs are present, prospects might fail to build the right impression of “finding their new home”.
Note: To repaint a rental A to Z is the cheapest way to boost appeal and looks without breaking the bank.
6. Steam, dry chem, repair or replace carpeting.
But how to figure out if you have to clean, repair or change carpeting entirely?
It all comes down to the condition and amount of wear and tear. While some carpets need regular vacuum cleaning, others require thorough hot water extraction or dry chem cleaning. While it’s simple DIY vacuuming is an option, it is more the exception rather than the rule.
If the condition of carpeting is beyond cleaning, you will have to either repair or replace. Old rugs tend to cause pest infestations, allergy reactions and an unpleasant atmosphere in any property. Nobody want’s bad odours and stains around. That’s why clever landlords will opt for colours that are easier to clean.
Important: Never choose bright colours for carpeting in a rental unit, EVER. It will only set the pathway for you and your tenants to argue and potentially dispute at the end of a lease.
7. Look into plumbing maintenance and repairs.
Pipe and faucet leaks are among the top reasons for costly repairs in rental properties throughout the UK. Water damage poses a huge risk to your entire property as well as those that surround you.
In case you fail to spot leaks in time, you might end up bound to invest in restoration of walls, flooring, ceilings, doors, face low pressure and more... You can surely imagine this not being cheap neither budget-friendly. At all.
The cost of Inspection, maintenance and repair of plumbing, should be a regular expense for any and all conscientious landlords looking for long-term success with their rentals.
8. Landscaping and property exterior mather too!
Call it irony, but the last thing on our list causes the first impression in visitors.
Not all properties actually come with any outdoor spaces, but those that do, require maintenance and care all year round.
In case your portfolio does not include dedicated staff responsible for gardening and landscaping, you should delegate chores to a professional company. Truth is, most landlords attempting to DIY seem to miss at least one of the many chores beautiful gardens require on a daily basis.
A well-looking landscape needs regular care, fact. Not to mention the various fines landlords might be a subject to, such as fines over poorly trimmed trees, blocked shаfts and etc.
What are the takeaways here?
To take appropriate actions while tenants change is crucial for the long-term being of any rental property. If you want to start and end tenancy agreements hassle-free, you will have to take proper care in a well-planned and organised mather.