LANDLORD’s serious responsibilities …
.. are to maintain their properties. 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!