Property investment summer checklist
If you own one rental property or many, it's important to keep them in good condition, firstly so you attract and retain good tenants and also to ensure your investment is looked after. That means doing some specific maintenance when summer rolls around in order to keep your investments in tip-top shape. Here are some jobs to do over the summer months.
Summer time is when many of us travel to see family and friends which may mean your property could be vacant for a few weeks over the Christmas / New Year period and become a potential target for thieves.
Find out if your property is going to be vacant and if it is check the security of your investment. Make sure the locks are functioning well on all windows and doors, check the window latches and security lights and if there are security cameras, as there often are in apartments, that these are working?
Organise repairs and maintenance
Summer is a great time to organize any repairs, maintenance and refurbishments. If your tenants are going to be away, ask them to pack away their personal items so you can take care of any jobs that need to be done such as painting, re-sanding the floor, fixing any issues in the bathroom or kitchen that may have arisen. You will need to get the tenants permission to enter the property so it's a good idea to organise this in advance.
Also think about what may need to be done outside – is the decking ok, does that garden need some attention, are the tiles in good condition? Make sure you talk to your Property Manager if you end up fully renovating a bathroom or kitchen during this time as you may be able to increase the rent if your lease is up for renewal.
Make sure you organize your tradies in advance as they too are often on holidays.
Clean out the Gutters
With Summer so too comes the fire season…so if your investment is in a fire risk clear out your gutters before the heat arrives.
If there's a build-up of leaves, sticks or other debris in gutters, this can be a fire hazard. That's not to mention the potential to block up the structure itself, which can make it difficult for water to drain through.
This can lead to bigger problems later on, such as gutters that sag, along with mildew accumulating in the area. It can also cause water damage, which could potentially affect the home itself.
Planning for the next year
Given the fluctuations in students and people’s employment many tenancy agreements finish either at the end of the year or the beginning of the next given fluctuations in student living situations and employment. If you are happy with your tenants and want them to resign it is now a good time to talk to your property manager to see how you can get your tenants to resign. It is worth asking them the following questions and taking action where appropriate:
- Do the tenants have any issues with the property that I need to address?
- Should I offer a grace period when paying rent – such as: give them 3-4 days to pay their rent without a penalty being imposed?
- What do you think about offering incentives to the tenants, such as if you re-sign I will fix the patio, kitchen splash back, bathroom tiles etc?
- Should I reduce my rent if the tenants sign a two year lease?
The benefits of keeping good tenants are you don’t have find new ones, you don’t have screen new applicants, you avoid vacancy costs and advertising costs and the current tenants are aware of the rules of the property and payment conditions.
Summer garden maintenance
After winter you might find your garden needs a bit of TLC. Refresh the mulch, weed the garden beds and consider adding some flowering plants for a splash of colour. If you have a watering system, adjust the timer to day light saving time (if that applies to your state), clean the exterior lighting and windows and check if the entertaining deck needs any repairs and that the BBQ is set up safely to be enjoyed throughout summer.
While insulating your rental property is a cost for you, you might find that you can secure a better weekly rent from tenants, given they won't have to spend as much on their electricity bills and less likely to switch on the air conditioner bills.
If you get the opportunity to insulate the property thoroughly, this could pay off in the long run. How you do this will depend on the kind of dwelling you've invested in, but have a chat with your property manager if you're not sure of the right approach.
Check the property isn’t being sub-leased
Many investment properties are rented to students and over the Summer holiday period they all head home. It is worth finding out if they are looking to sub-lease your property while they are away. Unless it is in the lease, they will need to get written approval from you to sub-lease to someone else. Whilst you are not allowed to withhold this permission without a good reason, it is important to understand who is living in your investment.