When is a good time to access my property to get work done?

Timing is so important when you’re a landlord, especially when it comes to getting work done on your property without disturbing your tenant.

As a landlord, as well as the safety of your property, you also need to consider comfort, which means there are lots of updates you could do to your property over the years. The longer you own your property, the more likely you are to make updates to it.

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So what updates should be on your radar and how should you go about organising them with as little cost to you and as little disruption to the tenants as possible?

What safety updates might you need to do?

Safety first! Making sure your property is safe should always be your first priority. 

  • Are all of your legal certificates up-to-date? As a landlord, you need to make sure that you’re updating your Gas Safety Certificate every year, your EICR every five years and your EPC every 10. These ensure the safety and efficiency of your property and must be done!
  • Are you covered for emergencies? You need to be able to respond to issues in the property as quickly as possible. Home Emergency Insurance will cover you in the event of a big emergency like a boiler breakdown or flood and will ensure that you’re not covering the damage out of your own pocket. Buildings Insurance is required when you get a buy-to-let, so you will be secure if there are any issues with the building itself
  • Are you on top of minor repairs? Make sure you have a good working relationship with your tenant, so they will come to you to let you know of any niggles in the property. These are things like cracks in the wall, that you might want to have investigated now, rather than wait and see if they develop into something more serious

What comfort updates do you need?

As well as ensuring the safety of your tenant, you always want to consider both their comfort and the future rentability of the property. Ensuring that your property looks great is half the battle when it comes to finding new tenants.

When is a good time to access your rental property for repairs

  • Carpets. If you have carpets in the property, these can start to look dirty or worn. Your go-to should always be a thorough cleaning – you can easily rent carpet shampooers from shops, rather than investing in one. This will prolong the life of the carpet and save you from forking out on completely news ones too regularly. However, there will come a time when you will probably need to replace it, so do your research and find something durable and darker in colour, that won’t show dirt immediately. But don’t go too dark – think about the overall look in your property!
  • Kitchen updates. Kitchens are high traffic areas and they get put through their paces, so make sure that yours is up to scratch! Consider updating cabinet doors or counter surfaces if they’re looking a bit tired and investing in good flooring that will stand the test of time
  • Bathroom. One of the places to show age most quickly are bathrooms, so when you make any updates here, definitely keep it simple with white and grey which are neutrals that defy trends. Also really consider the long-term function of what you’re installing, a shower with curved doors might be trickier to clean and require more upkeep for example. 

When is the best time to make these updates?

You want to consider both your current tenants and your own pocket when planning any work in the property, and you have a few options when it comes to finding the time to make updates.

In between tenants

Void periods can be scary, but if you are planning major updates to the property, between tenants is the best time as you don’t need to worry about moving your tenants furniture out or potentially damaging it. 

You also have more leeway with time if the work overruns (as they often do!). Before you decide to tackle the work in between tenants though, make sure you can cover the outgoings on the property for approximately 3 months, you can use our free Expense Tracker to plan your budgets. If the work is likely to take longer than 3 months, make sure you can cover this, plus an additional month or two, in order to cover any overrunning that may occur

With tenants in situ

This is a little trickier to handle, but sometimes it can’t be helped! If there is an issue in the middle of the tenancy, this is just something you’re going to have to work around. 

Depending on the issue, this might not be too tricky, as if it’s just a half day or day’s work, that’s disruption you can all work around. Speak to your tenants about whether or not they would feel more comfortable with the work happening while they’re at home, so it can be arranged while they’re working from home or over the weekend. 

If the work is longer term, this definitely requires more liaising with your tenant to organise the best time for them to get the work sorted:

  • What is being done? Be clear about the work that is being done, so they know what areas of their home will be affected and can prepare for that by moving furniture etc.
  • Why is it needed? Make sure they know why this work is important and beneficial for them, so they are more open to working with you to make it happen
  • How long will it take? This is really important as your tenants need to have a realistic idea of how long the work will take so they can understand how much it will affect them. We really recommend that you do large works during void periods, to avoid disrupting your tenants’ lives. However, you may be lucky and find that your tenants are going away for a couple of weeks and are happy for you to access the property in their absence. Most tenants would probably prefer you not to access the property while they’re away, so be guided by them to find a solution that works for all of you

As is so often the case, it all comes down to good communication! If you have a healthy relationship with your tenants, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the right time to get necessary work done.

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