Maintain rental properties properly

With the recession only partially behind us and with incomes often no longer rising in line with inflation (or any recognised growth strategy) it can be tempting to landlords to skimp on maintenance – but this is always “fatal” to the long term value of the building.

Rental agents, says David Beattie, Principal of Chorus Letting and a director of the Western Cape Institute of Estate Agents, should do all they can to persuade landlords to maintain standards at their properties.

“Nothing could be more short-sighted than to think it is possible to get away with inadequate maintenance. Once a home gets a poor quality label it will attract poor quality tenants who may well also be poor payers. The property then goes downhill, loses value and commands ever lower rentals.

“We propose that landlords try set aside around 8% of their gross monthly rent income (or approximately 1% of their property’s value per annum) for proactive maintenance. I realise that this may be a struggle for those landlords still trying to finance shortfalls, but it is essential to try and put aside at least a small amount each month; the inevitable periodic maintenance will be necessary at some time or other.”

Good maintenance, said Beattie, includes painting of the property every four to five years (with a good quality washable paint for long lasting results), realigning built in cupboard doors and replacing faulty hinges. Light fittings should also be repaired or maintained. Special attention should also be given to kitchen counters, especially around the basin area where they can often swell from water absorption.

“Adequate maintenance along with skilled tenant selection and timeous rent collection are the keys to good property management.”

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