7 Tips to Toddler-Proofing in a Rented Property!
According to a recent survey of 2000 parents, toddlers and young children, cost nearly £400 in damage to *homes!
The top causes of costly damage were:
- Ruined wallpaper and drawing on walls
- Spills, scratches, and tears to furnishings
- Scratches and drawing on flooring
- Repairs from toys being put into the washing machine
If you are a landlord with a family-size property to rent, you may want to consider the following toddler-proofing strategies to outwit the terrors of toddlers:
- Easy-peasy cleaning
Where necessary, in areas of passing pushchairs, etc, use washable and heavy-duty endurance paint in a suitable colour – such as a fashionable grey. There are some great paints available, in any colour, that can make cleaning of handprints, mud, etc much easier. In addition many tough paints can withstand scuffs from furniture removals, and tough white gloss paints on woodwork can be easily freshened up when necessary.
- Gates galore
To keep toddlers in ‘safer’ areas look at where stairgates could be used to keep a small child in a playroom, or away from dangers such as kitchens, bathrooms, and stairs. Providing one or two stairgates may well be a great help to parents who are just beginning to experience a baby turning into a child ‘escapee’ !
- Wonderful wipes
What did we do before we had those disposable wipes? To maintain clean surfaces wherever possible, fit high-gloss units in kitchens, utility rooms, and bathrooms. If you also provide the correct cleaning materials or specialist wipes for any wooden furnishings, etc, your tenants will be more likely to continue to use the right materials needed for the job.
- Show-off shelving
Stylish and practical shelves can be a godsend for tenants living in your rented property. Somewhere to put valuable and important things out of the way of inquisitive toddlers is always going to be a positive feature. In addition, higher-up plug sockets nearby will be useful for recharging phones, etc or perhaps to plug-in a hairdryer if the shelf can display a freestanding mirror.
- Fabulous flooring
Floors can take their fair-share of destruction too with damage from toddler’s toys and from crayons, and spills, etc. Perhaps the best flooring for families would be solid wood, laminate,lino, composites, or ceramic tiles. If this seems a bit too cold or ‘sterile’ in certain areas, robust mats and rugs could be provided, which should be easier to replace if necessary.
- Wicked wallpaper
Although it may be tempting to have a feature wall with some fashionable wallpaper – generally washable paint is a better option in rented property. Wallpaper, unless very durable, can become easily damaged or destroyed, and may not be simple for a tenant to replace if it needs repairing. Generally white walls and ceilings are the easiest for everyone (no need to match the paint) and are less time-consuming to freshen up when needed.
- Laidback Landlords …
Perhaps the best tip is to have a laidback approach to toddlers in general – they will soon grow up – and very few parents will want to continue to live with rips in wallpaper, dirty marks on walls, or damage to floors and furnishings. It is probably better to encourage the parents to have a good contents insurance policy (with accidental damage covered) and to adopt a good communication strategy with regular property visits. These visits will also help to avoid any last-minute misunderstandings at the check-out stage. Working with the parents to sort out any repairs and maintenance (however caused) at an early stage, as quickly and easily as possible, will make everyone’s lives a bit easier.
And at least the landlord doesn’t have to cope with smartphones, expensive the other costly destructive habits such as toys, £20 notes, and even car keys being flushed down the loo!
If you’d like to know more about lets with toddlers in tow, please just ask.
*Source: Direct Line Home Insurance 2016
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Thanks again Caroline for your support in all of these property issues – I value your and Anthony’s experience and wisdom. Mrs P, Landlord, Leamington Spa