Monday, 17 September 2012

PROPERTY ARTICLE: How to get a better rent on your London property. Copyright SvD.

How to get a better rent on your London property

As a relocation agent I am frequently in and out of rental properties all over London. Some landlords keep their rental properties in excellent condition and have got it right in terms of décor and maximum usage of space. Other landlords get very low marks indeed and seem to think that even though their property is run-down and in need to repair, they should still be able to command a high rent. Not so!

Here’s a simple example of the type of thing I come across regularly and which puts off my clients (the tenants) completely. I recently showed a three bedroomed property to a client in Battersea. It was ideal in terms of the internal layout, the quality of the furnishings and best of all, its proximity to the children’s school. There was one drawback: the front door and pergola to the front of the house were badly in need of repair. The wood had rotted away in parts causing the pergola to lean perilously to one side and the paint on the front door was peeling off. Both the pergola and door had last experienced some tender loving care many moons ago. One of the terms of my client’s offer was for cosmetic repairs to be carried out to make the pergola safe and for both to be repainted. The landlord refused outright.  Needless to say, my client chose another property instead.

There are a couple of issues worth raising based on this story. Firstly, the letting agent should have informed the landlord that the property needed to be in reasonable condition in order for a good rent to be achieved. The pergola and front door should have been fixed long ago as par for the course.

Secondly, ongoing maintenance is cheaper. Once a tenant moves out a rental property should be freshly painted and cleaned professionally in readiness for the new occupier. Not all properties need to be painted in between tenancies especially if the tenancy has been very short (common sense here) but any scruff marks should either be removed through cleaning or painted over. The benefit to the landlord is obvious: he will expect the property back in the same condition as he handed it over to the tenant.

The same applies to kitchen and bathrooms. Tired bathrooms and kitchens can be a real turn-off to prospective tenants. Ready-made kitchen units are widely available on the high street and tend to be reasonably priced. Installing a fully fitted kitchen including all appliances can be as little as £1,000. (if you buy free standing units). And installing a new toilet, sink, bathtub or shower can be less than £2,000. Here’s a useful tip to landlords: when installing kitchens or bathrooms, do ensure that the ventilation is efficient. Inadequate ventilation can cause long-term damage through condensation build up and can be promote the growth of toxic mould. So remember: Tenants will be willing to pay more and will probably stay longer in properties that are maintained and presented in good order making it a win-win situation for both landlord and tenant!

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