Saturday, 30 October 2010

Keeping up appearances

Any property that is lived in will suffer general wear and tear, this has to be accepted. But to what amount is acceptable if you are renting out property?

For landlords, an inventory is recommended to provide a "baseline". You can do this yourself (and I'm sure there are guides found on the internet) or it can be done professionally. The easiest would be to ask your letting agent to arrange it for you, although this may not be the cheapest option.

Realistically though, what are we going to turn a blind eye to?

I am renting a flat at the moment and my 22 month old daughter has discovered scribbling on the walls with a biro is a lot of fun. That's terrible! But is it? Her graffiti is just an addition to the already marked walls (from previous artistic toddlers I bet). She is also potty training and she has managed to pee in every room so far. I also found a raisin in the bathroom the other day - or so I thought, actually it was a pebble of dried poo. Nice.

However, when we moved into the flat, it was really quite grimey - there was chocolate stuck to the carpet and the curtains were filthy. I bought a carpet cleaner and gave all the floors a good scrub. I also changed the curtains for wooden blinds.

In the flat that I rent out, my previous tenant's rabbit chewed a hole in the carpet. Oh no! She also made a black stain on the wall from a burning candle.

Well, my tenant managed to rectify things - the hole was covered up with some creative carpentry and the stain was painted over. She also put up a blind on a window and some handy coat hangers.

What else? Lots more, more than I could mention. Where do you draw the line? My personal opinion is that there is a lot of give and take. Obviously I am not talking about rogue tenants that turn a place into a tip, that is a completely different situation. Tenants may add to the wear and tear of your property but they also improve things to make it more habitable/homely (sometimes for free).

In my own experience, having good communications with your tenant is essential in maintaining your property. Knowing when things go wrong and fixing them as necessary can prevent a bad situation from deteriorating into something worse. Otherwise not only will you have to spend more resolving a larger problem but you will also lose more money if it stops someone else from moving into the property.

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