What to Know About Rental Property Maintenance Expenses
You make property investments for a wide variety of reasons, most notably the relative stability of the market and the rental income a person can generate from a buy to let property. There is a considerable risk and burdensome aspect of the initial purchase price – but with a buy to let investment the payoffs can make it worthwhile.
However, investing in rental properties is no bed of roses. There are many financial perils and pitfalls in the rental sector. While you can plan and budget for recurrent costs such as landlord insurance, mortgage payments and the need to pay tax on any income – regular maintenance costs are much more difficult to plan.
There are constant and surprising demands when owning a rental property. A rental business will face the following challenges when it comes to property maintenance:
- Regular repairs: Wear and tear always occur, and domestic or commercial tenants cannot be expected to care for the property themselves. If something goes wrong, you as the owner must deal with the issue. Carrying out effective and safe repairs in a timely fashion is a core duty of any property investment.
- Emergencies: As a landlord, you might get a call during the night, while on a trip abroad or at some other awkward moment – there is no way of knowing for certain. Responding effectively to an emergency is a crucial part of maintaining your reputation – and not doing so has serious consequences.
- Surveys and assessments: You have to check the safety of utilities, perform fire risk assessments, survey the structure of the building and carry out many other procedures to ensure the property is in good working order – and fit for the occupants to use. However, such needs are sporadic and easy to plan for.
All these factors mean that your maintenance expenses can get out of control, which can make property investments completely unviable and cause the cost of ownership to skyrocket. You need to be aware of all maintenance expenses and have a clear strategy to manage them and optimise the return on your investment.
It can be a challenge to understand. However, as experts in managing the rental property maintenance expenses of clients in London – we are well-placed to explain the main details. If you would like to know more about the property services we provide in the capital please feel free to get in touch with us.
What Are Maintenance Expenses?
The list of expenses that you can expect to contend with in a property investment include the following:
- Utilities: Gas certificates, boiler installation and checks or heating maintenance are possibly the priciest rental property maintenance expenses there are. However, they are essential to both domestic and commercial tenants – so being able to carry out rapid, reliable repairs is vital.
- Plumbing: Second to utilities in both price and importance is plumbing. Fixing poorly functioning or blocked toilets, sinks, showers or baths will be a big part of your maintenance tasks – as they are in constant use, and therefore they are more likely to have issues.
- Drains: Drainage, both inside and out, is important to maintain for the comfort and convenience of tenants – in addition to their health and safety. Drainage issues are potentially damaging to a building, so they are critical pieces of maintenance for maintaining the structural integrity of a property.
- Electrics: Electricity supply is another essential utility that will require occasional maintenance. Testing appliances, rewiring and finding faults, upgrading fuse boards or just maintaining or installing lighting can all add to the expenses of your rental property.
- Painting and decorating: Another aspect of maintenance is painting and decorating, which can be necessary during or at the end of a tenancy in many cases. Plastering, paint stripping and other work, both to interior and exterior spaces, is important for maintaining the rental appeal of your building.
- Roofing: Damage to the roof of a building is important to fix. If you have just one rental flat on a lower floor of a property you might avoid this issue. But in a house or entire block, regular roof repairs will be necessary. You will also need to carry out consistent roof surveys and reports for the safety of your tenants.
- Gutters: Blocked or broken gutters can cause considerable damage to a building, so you must carry out regular cleaning and respond swiftly to any damage. With regular maintenance of gutters, you can help prevent higher costs springing up down the line, sometimes unexpectedly.
- Carpentry: Repairs to stairs, floorboards, doors or windows and other wood work are essential for a tenant’s safety and security, as well as the overall rental appeal of your property. You will need to respond quickly to any damage to the woodwork, which naturally occurs due to regular wear and tear.
- Odd jobs: The expense that is possibly the most challenging and difficult to plan for is the unique or unusual tasks you might face. Perhaps you will need to mount a television, hang a picture or do any other manner of odd jobs. Finding solutions to such problems can be very difficult in some cases.
- Garden and outdoors: If your property has a garden, balcony or patio maintenance needs will arise here due to the influence of weather and other forces. You might have to spend time and money fixing a fence, trim a hedge or cut a lawn in a shared garden – all of which can push up costs.
The above list is the basics, and there are several other expenses you will probably need to deal with.
- Renovations: In the event of flooding, fire or damage by a tenant you may need to entirely renovate a room. Doing so can be very expensive in some situations, but the flipside is renovations can help to push up rental income.
- Insurance: Not only must you pay for insurance, but you also have to spend time and energy managing claims and making sure you get compensated where eligible. Inefficiency in this area can increase expenses considerably.
- Landlord duties: Setting rent, collecting rent, screening tenants and managing the overall budget is vital to keeping expenses down. The day-to-day duties of being a landlord are key for optimising your investment.
The rental property maintenance expenses you will face are extensive and many are completely impossible to plan for. As a result, covering the costs effectively is vital.
How to Cover the Cost of a Rental Property
Effective property management is a full-time job. It is too much for one person to sufficiently do by themselves. Depending on your skills and qualifications, you will be sourcing electricians, plumbers, carpenters and other professionals to do your maintenance.
While challenging, acting as the overall property manager and running the maintenance programme yourself is possible. You will need dedication to your tenants and a keen sense of what to look for in the professionals you work with to achieve the best results.
Hiring a Maintenance Company
If you are unable to dedicate the time and energy, not to mention the costs, to maintaining your own property – the best method is to use a managed service. Effective property maintenance or management services can do the following:
- Respond in an emergency: The best property maintenance companies will be able to respond 24 hours a day to any emergencies in your building and deliver fast results for your tenants.
- Offer professional advice: It can be difficult to understand what your obligations might be, but a maintenance company can assess a property and advise on what work you need to do – as well as complete the work afterwards.
- Provide access to a professional team: Optimising costs by tapping into the network of professionals a maintenance company has gives you lots of benefits, such as reducing costs and the time and stress of owning a property.
You have two basic choices when it comes to covering the costs of rental property maintenance expenses – do it yourself or get someone else to do it for you. If you are unsure or unwilling to do it to the best standards yourself, a third party is necessary.
Rental Property Maintenance Expenses Explained
The costs of maintaining a rental property are extensive and can increase the cost of ownership considerably. Effective management of a property is essential for the return on investment of a building. You have to carry out these maintenance needs yourself or find a reliable partner to manage them on your behalf.
Shrewd property owners with plenty of time and energy, as well as know-how, can manage a rental property themselves. However, in some cases, the efficiency gains of a third party are a more viable option. If you would like to know more about our property maintenance services in the London area please feel free to get in touch.