Q. My tenants have vacated and I am using my apartment myself whist I am in London. However my agent has suggested that whilst the property is vacant I should consider having the apartment repainted throughout if my intention is to carry on renting for the foreseeable future. I have had the apartment for about six years now, do you really think this is necessary, personally I don’t think it looks that bad and it is just a rental flat after all? However I have always stated that my preference is for a ‘professional’ tenant which is why the agent is really pushing for this work to be done, will it really make that much difference?
A. Looking after your investment especially if you intend to continue renting for the next few years is paramount. Like most landlords, I imagine you are keen to keep your expenses on the apartment as low as possible. But if your agent is advising you to have a bit of a revamp carried out I am quite sure this is because the apartment is starting to look a little tired, and after six years of renting I would imagine it would be. Maintaining your investment should be a priority, see it as a working machine like a car for instance. If you don’t regularly service a car then the car will begin to show signs of neglect just as a property that is not maintained does. As a landlord I would imagine that rental yield is also very high on the agenda when it comes to finding a suitable tenant? Please remember that if your apartment is in fabulous condition throughout, it will not only rent quicker than its competitors but will also encourage offers within your expectations. Tenants that low ball on an offer will usually do so if they can give a good reason to do so, if an apartment is in top condition it really doesn’t leave much bargaining power on their part to try and offer lower than the asking price. Properties that are generally well maintained attract the right type of tenant, if a tenant can see that a property is well maintained it is a good indication that the landlords are keen to keep the apartment maintained to a high level and they will also feel confident going forward that should a maintenance issue arise that you will be keen to resolve asap. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that as long as it rents then don’t bother. Over time a property that is not maintained properly will naturally deteriorate and what was once a small job will turn into a massive renovation project. As a rule of thumb most conscientious landlords ask themselves if they would be happy to live in their investment, if you would not then maybe it’s time to do something about that. A badly maintained property is certainly not going to attract the professional tenant that you say you are seeking.