How Landlords Can Avoid Financial Pain

Let’s face it, no one wants to receive a large unexpected bill for repairs or maintenance on their property.  Unfortunately, though, without proper foresight and planning it is likely that at some point in time, it is going to happen. 


This guide will help landlords to better prepare for the unexpected and avoid the associated financial pain.  By understanding what future ongoing maintenance is likely to be required on your property, you can build a strategy for funding it.

All aspects of a property including the fixtures and fittings have a lifespan.  Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever.  So, you will need to prepare for the eventual repair or replacement of a range of aspects of your property.  Even if your boiler was installed relatively recently, it will need to be replaced at some point and probably far sooner than expected.  Most boiler manufacturers will only supply a guarantee of between 5-10 years, so that is a good indication of how long they believe it will last before components start to fail.  So prepare for that now and reduce the stress and anxiety further down the line.

It is nearly always more cost effective to invest in replacing an item before its passes the end of its useful life.   It may seem like the cheaper option at the time, but temporary repairs are often very costly, whereas routine work scheduled in advance, is less so.   It is better in the long term to avoid throwing good money after bad on constantly repairing items which are nearing or beyond their useful life.

The table below provides an illustration of the approximate lifespan of a various aspect of a property. These figures are an approximate estimate, and the actual lifespan will depend greatly on the quality of the product and its installation, along with the amount of usage.  You should expect poor quality products to degrade far sooner than the average.

Fixtures & Fittings  Expected Lifespan
Central Heating System         10 - 15 years
Bathroom Sealant 3-5 years
Electric Shower 8-10 years
Household Appliances 6-10 years
Carpets 5 years
Décor 3-5 years
Flat Roof 10 years
Fencing 10 years
Kitchen Units 10-15 years
Doors & Windows 15-20 years
Locks 5-10 years
Taps 10 - 15 years

It is not safe to assume that newer properties are less likely to experience failures of fixtures and fittings.  In our experience, the quality of plumbing and electrical installations along with kitchen and bathrooms in newer homes is often much lower than older properties, as developers seek to reduce costs and maximise profits by installing cheaper products.

A good exercise for Landlords to carry out is a quick assessment of the fixtures, fittings, and other aspects of their property to understand the current age of these items.  Think about how old the boiler is, when were the household appliances installed, etc.  You can then estimate how long it will be before these are going to need replacing.  

The exercise above will help you to identify aspects of the property which are likely to require some attention sooner rather than later and which areas will need addressing in the future. A quick estimate of the costs of replacing each of these items will provide you with a rough figure of how much you will need to reinvest in the property.

The best way you can protect yourself from financial pain, is to set aside an amount of money each month from the rent to create a fund for future repairs, maintenance, and upgrades. 

As a guide, retaining £50-£100 per month per property over time should provide a fund to cover both the smaller reactive repairs and the larger proactive projects such as kitchen and bathroom replacements.

By adopting this strategy, you will have the funds available when they are needed and avoid the financial pain that comes with the lack of planning.  Regardless of what maintenance strategy you adopt, one thing you can be certain of is that the fixtures, fittings, heating system, etc, will all come to the end of their useful life at some point.  You can either be prepared for it or suffer the unexpected pain. 

If you would like to know more about maintaining or renting out your property, give us a buzz on 01302 247754.

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