There are two benefits to making your rental flat as low-maintenance as possible. Obviously by decreasing the amount of regular maintenance needed, you’ll hopefully be keeping your costs down, but also the less laborious you make it for your tenants to keep the place looking smart, the more likely it is that they’ll do so.
You’ll be making their lives easier, looking after your investment, and avoiding the aggro of professional deep cleans and wrangling over deposit deductions at the end of the tenancy.
There are all kinds of ways to make your flat more low-maintenance, but here are a few ideas:
- Replace slatted blinds with window shades. Blinds are notoriously fiddly to clean, and break easily. Window shades, by comparison, are simple, stylish, durable, and need even less cleaning than curtains.
- Replace shower curtains with screens. Unless they’re washed regularly, shower curtains in rental properties are usually pretty unsavoury. Screens are more expensive, but they’re much easier to clean, and even if limescale and dirt has been allowed to build up significantly, they can easily be made shiny again.
- Do away with carpets in favour of hard floors. Carpets burn, stain and scrape much more easily than wood or laminate floors, and they can significantly affect the appearance of an otherwise well-kept flat. If you want to make the place seem cosier, rugs can be a cheaper alternative.
- Use faux-leather instead of soft furnishings. If you’re letting the flat furnished, putting in a cream-coloured, fabric-upholstered sofa is never going to be a good idea. Vinyl, on the other hand, cleans easily and looks good.
- Use easy-clean paint for high-wear areas. Washable paints are more expensive, but can be worth using in areas where the walls are especially likely to pick up marks, such as stairs and hallways. Wiping off dirt is a lot easier than repainting. Clearly it’s a bit of an unnecessary extravagance using it on your ceilings.
- Reduce mould build-up in bathrooms. A decent extractor fan will be your best weapon here, but you can also get anti-mould paint that will discourage mould from blooming on walls that are often damp.
- Consider your kitchen. Unfortunately, making your kitchen low-maintenance could cost a bit more than your other rooms, but it might still be worth it. Cooker hoods will cut down significantly on odours and grease, while self-cleaning ovens can make the worst household cleaning job a lot less of a chore. At the very least, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got splashbacks to protect your walls.
- Replace halogen lighting with LEDs.
- Make garden spaces easy to look after. Lawns and floral borders are lovely, but if your tenant isn’t especially green-fingered, a pretty garden can quickly degenerate into jungle. Given that many prospective tenants will just be looking for an outdoor space to have a cigarette or an occasional barbecue in the sunshine, a patio with shrubs in pots could be a better bet.
Of course, all these adjustments will cost you money in the short term, so it’s unlikely that you’ll want to start making changes wholesale. Ultimately it’s about balancing immediate costs against long-term savings, but when different parts of your property come up for renewal or replacement, it’s worth factoring the more low-maintenance options into your decisions.