Getting your unoccupied property ready for letting again

June 2, 2012

Landlords Insurance

Spring and even summer are now in the air.  If you’ve had a property standing unoccupied for a period of time, now might be the time to take some steps towards sprucing it up and getting it ready for letting:

  • take a long, hard and critical look externally. Deal with anything that looks tatty or even tired.  Tenants don’t like their first sight of a property to include rust, flaking paint, blocked gutters and dirty windows. You may be amazed at how much difference some paint can make.  Remember also that an untidy and poorly maintained exterior might increase the risk of structural deterioration;
  • get rid of dust and cobwebs. These may be harmless in themselves but they communicate entirely the wrong message to tenants when viewing;
  • re-paper.  Modest wallpaper is not expensive and it doesn’t take long to put up. If your wallpaper is peeling, has dirty patches or just looks as if it has been up since the 70s, then get it replaced.  Remember, wood chip has been out of fashion for decades and isn’t yet considered retro;
  • dry things out.  Many properties, particularly older ones, that have stood unoccupied for periods of time, will start to smell musty and possibly damp (even if they are basically sound).  So, invest in a little indulgent heating, warm your property through over a few days and make it smell lived in and loved before viewings commence;
  • sort out the carpets/rugs. People can be seriously discouraged during viewings, if carpets and rugs look threadbare.  It is possible to pick up moderate quality carpets and rugs for a reasonable price, so if in doubt, invest a little;
  • look closely at your kitchen.  Appliances that look as if they should be in a museum might not help your lettings (even if you know them to be safe – which you must).  Upgrade things – particularly if you’re planning to target families or young professionals as tenants. Reasonable quality white goods are not expensive in the scheme of things.

Also, don’t forget unoccupied property insurance.

If your property has stood empty for 30 consecutive days or more, you may need it if you are to maintain your insurance cover.

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