We have often found that, after a few years of tenancies in a property, quite a few of the walls and woodwork need repair and repainting, carpets start to get worn and therefore more difficult for the tenants to keep clean, and sometimes even the outside of the property starts to look a bit neglected. Many tenants will turn up very early for a viewings appointment, and not bother to look inside the property if the outside of the property or the front garden and drive look neglected.
Fittings such as kitchens and bathrooms can also be in need of professional cleaning, repair or replacement – particularly cookers, fridges and kitchen sinks, but also shower and bath seals, grouting and even the loo seat! (We have even seen a flat that after six weeks’ of many viewings we suggested changing a green shower curtain for a new white one. This helped the bathroom to look more bright and appealing – the flat was then let within two days.)
Furnishings too, such as sofas and mattresses, can start to sag, fade, and get stubborn marks which will sadly detract prospective tenants from wanting to live at the property. I sometimes recommend that a landlord considers removing all the furniture (particularly in two- or more bedroom properties) as older furniture may be more off-putting than no furnishings at all.
Even new light fittings or lamp shades, and new curtains or blinds can really spruce-up a property. This can make the prospective tenant feel that the property has a more stylish feel to it and that the whole property is therefore a bit more modern.
Fortunately, the Inland Revenue does make a tax allowance of 10% of the rental income towards the cost of repair and replacement of furnishings in furnished properties. Therefore, in effect, if you were able to rent your property for £600pcm you would be entitled to claim a tax allowance of £720 per annum towards the costs of repairs or a new mattress, sofa or other furnishings. Always worth recouping what you can on your tax return!
It is always sad when a landlord decides to neglect their property and therefore has to decrease the rental in order to attract new tenants. I hope that some of the above tips will be useful for new or seasoned landlords who want to add some zest to their property and speed up the next letting. Good luck with those paint brushes!