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How can South London landlords improve their property?

published on 18/06/2019  

A top-quality rental property is a valuable asset for landlords for a number of reasons.

If you have tenants already in place, a home that is improved over time is likely to encourage them to stay for the long-term. If you don’t currently have tenants, or are letting out property for the first time and want to occupy your rental home as quickly as possible, this will be far easier to achieve if those viewing the home are met with something which really looks the part.

But how can you go about improving your property to ensure it stands above the competition in the busy South London lettings market, where many landlords are competing to cater for the ever-growing tenant population from all walks of life?

Below, using our experience here at Bryan & Keegan, we take a closer look...

Make the most of your green space

If you have a garden, it’s likely to be a big draw for many tenants – in particular the growing number of family and middle-aged renters in the private rented sector. The number of middle-aged tenants – those aged 35 to 54-year-olds – living as private tenants nearly doubled in the 10 years from 2006-07 to 2017-18, according to the Family Resources Survey by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Meanwhile, the most recent English Housing Survey (2017-18) revealed that, between 2007-08 and 2017-18, the number of households with dependent children in the private rented sector rose by almost 795,000.

Both these demographics are likely to be delighted with green space, even more so if you offer them the flexibility to turn it into their own. This is win-win for you, as it will save on maintenance costs and upkeep – which could be a drag on both your time and money. It will also mean you have a garden in great condition if your tenants move out and you need to replace them with new ones.

It won’t just be family and older renters who will appreciate garden space, though – young professionals and students will also be keen for somewhere to use as a social and entertaining space in the summer months.

To bring your green space up to scratch, you should mow the lawn, cut back any overgrown trees, jetwash any patio or decking you have, and add a few hanging baskets or flowers to bring a splash of colour to proceedings. If your garden has a particularly standout feature – for example a pond, a spacious garage or a BBQ area – point this out to viewers when they come and see your home.

Give your kitchen and bathrooms a makeover

The kitchen is now seen by many as the most important room in the home – not just for baking and cooking, but also as a social hub, a place to eat dinner and somewhere for the kids to do homework or adults to run their businesses.

As such, it really needs to look great – an attractive place people want to spend time in and somewhere that can proudly be called the heart of the home.

How can you achieve this? If your kitchen is in generally good condition but looks a little tired and sorry for itself, a fresh lick of paint, new tiles on the walls, or replacing door handles on cupboards to give them an old-oak style finish can all help to transform this space.  

Equally, all fixtures, fittings and appliances should be clean and in fine working order, while the kitchen should remain as uncluttered as possible.

As for the bathroom, you want to aim for a modern, elegant, hotel-style look and feel. That means no carpets (a popular trend in the 70s and 80s, but a complete relic now) and no lime green colour schemes. Neutral, light tones work best in the bathroom – which needs to be a relaxing space where tenants can leave stress at the door.

A wall-hung basin with towel bars could add a bit of character and class to your bathroom without breaking the bank, while all surfaces and fittings should be cleaned thoroughly to give them a nice sheen.

What’s more, it’s wise to check bath and shower sealants for any mould and ensure the bathroom is ventilated well enough to prevent mould and damp being issues at a later date.

Impress tenants with added extras

Long-term tenants – who will treat your home like it’s their own and cause you no issues throughout a tenancy – are what every landlord is looking for, and you can make the prospect of this more likely by adding a few little special extras and incentives to attract them to your home in the first instance and then keep them in place thereafter.

Potential options include investing in a security system, or perhaps an air conditioning unit for those long, hot summer days where getting cool is seemingly impossible. Stainless steel appliances and built-in wardrobes also offer more of a wow factor, and you could find the initial investment in these features are offset by the absence of costly void periods, the ability to charge higher rents and strong capital gains over time.

With the ever-increasing demand for rental homes, especially in London (where private renting is now the most popular form of tenure), you shouldn’t be short of tenant demand – but that doesn’t mean you can offer half measures with your rental properties. An attractive, well-maintained home is far more likely to be occupied quickly and to generate excellent returns over time than a shabby, substandard one.

For more information about getting your home let successfully in South London rental hotspots such as Brockley and Hither Green, you can contact us at one of our three offices.

To find out the value of your home and how much you could be charging in rent, you can request a free instant online valuation. Tags: Bryan & Keegan, South London, Hither Green, Brockley, Park Green, Letting Agents, Landlords, Rental