Lettings agents, Net Lettings, advise landlords that a schedule of regular maintenance and repair of let property is the key to avoiding the disruption and expense of tenancy voids – when the building has to be vacated – than allowing it to fall into disrepair and then needing a major restoration project to fix it up again.
The cost of that maintenance schedule is typically one of the biggest overhead expenses which must be met by landlords, so what might be done to manage and control essential repairs and maintenance?
Probably the number one enemy for the owner of any buy to let property comes from something as simple and inescapable as the great British weather. Blistering sunshine in summer, pouring rain, winter storms and the risk of flooding, ice and snow, all take their toll on the condition of the building itself and even its contents.
If you want to manage and control your expenditure on repairs and maintenance, therefore, a major concern is likely to lie in mitigating the punishing effects of the elements by weather proofing your let accommodation.
This means maintaining your let property in a good state of repair the whole year around.
Areas for particular consideration are the roof, and ensuring that any slipped or missing tiles or slates are promptly replaced, that all rainwater goods – such as gutters and downpipes – are free of blockages and provide free-flowing drainage, and that external walls have adequately pointed brickwork and are free of cracks.
Maintaining your property in a good state of repair is also likely to be a condition of the landlords insurance you might have arranged through us here at Cover4LetProperty.
Your maintenance schedule for weather proofing the let property also needs to take account of the changing seasons – and the fact that winter conditions may be especially punishing.
This is the time of year when the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) suggests that you need to strike the most appropriate balance between the cold and wet conditions outside to the moist and warm conditions that are likely to be present inside.
So, weather proofing your let property might involve just as much attention to the facilities you are providing your tenants inside the building as to anything you need to maintain and repair outside. This means ensuring that open chimney flues have been competently swept (preferably by a member of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps or the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps) and that any hot water or central heating boiler has been professionally serviced.
A properly weather proofed property is all the more important when and if your let accommodation is left unoccupied – during the period when former tenants have left, but whilst you are still waiting for new tenants to move in.
This is a time when your usual landlords insurance policy may impose severe restrictions that reflect the increased risks of an unoccupied property. Some insurers may even consider your insurance cover to have lapsed altogether after it has been left empty for longer than 30-45 consecutive days (depending on the particular insurer).
The solution in those circumstances is likely to be purpose designed, specialist unoccupied property insurance which we can help you arrange.