Browsing Category: "Home and Living"

Planning On Renting A Spare Property? Here’s What You Should Take Care Of

In the world of property rentals, there is a spectrum. Bad landlords and great landlords are to be found in any country, in any location, in both affluent and deprived areas alike. No matter what house or room you are letting out, as a landlord, you have a whole host of responsibilities for your tenant.

The monthly fee you charge them isn’t just a fee for the right to live there, it’s also a bonded contract that ties you to deal with their issues and maintenance woes. It is also a symbol of trust on the part of the renter that you will keep the property safe and up to housing code for them to live there.

As a new landlord or letter, it can be difficult to figure out just what responsibilities you have to your client, and how to be considered a ‘good landlord.’ No one intends to enter into a business relationship without aiming to hold up their end of the bargain, so most ‘bad landlords’ are a result of incompetence, ignorance, and lack of care.

[Photo courtesy of noona11/flickr.com]

This article will allow you to figure out if you’re on the right track, and if not, how to correct it.

Fees

To begin with, a new renter will want to identify how much the property will cost them, and what fees they will need to pay upfront in order to secure the property. This is where plenty of landlords and letting agents lose their way. ‘Signing fees, holding fees, administrative fees’ are all terms you might have heard if you’ve rented property yourself. These are, for the most part, meaningless, and renters know it too. There’s just no reason to charge a renter $50 to have the luxury of signing your contract, especially when they have a deposit and likely one or two months worth of rental investment to give you.

Try and limit these unnecessary fees as an independent landlord. If you’re going through a letting agent, discourage them from doing the same. It only serves to dissuade interest in your property and starts the whole business relationship on weird terms.

Health Code

It is your responsibility as a landlord to ensure your property is up to health code before your tenants enter. There should be no leaks, the boiler should be up to date and serviced, and the place should be well insulated. It should also be free of pests and other hygiene issues.

This is not to say it’s your responsibility to clean up and pay for any damage sustained by your tenant while they are in the property. If they take matters into their own hands to repair a fault and end up compromising the safety of the property, you are well within your rights to charge them for that or penalize their safety deposit sum. Lay all of this out in the contract so the tenants know what terms they should live under.

Safety

Your property should be secure and allow your tenant to live safely at all times. You should secure the property with combi-locks and strong window supports. If the property has seen better days, taking the time to review all the methods of security issues that could occur will be beneficial. It will also prevent unnecessary damage to your property.

Energy

You have a responsibility to provide your property with electric/gas and water. It is not your responsibility to include internet usage in the energy bill packages. You can come to an agreement with your tenant when the contract is being drawn up as to how they will pay for it. If they would like to change the service that they’re being supplied with, you must stipulate that they ask you, in writing, permission to change it.

Maintenance

Any repair faults of a sizeable quality should be dealt with from your own property. General wear and tear is bound to happen. Tenant induced damages are not your responsibility. Small fixes, such as light bulb replacement, should be taken care of by the tenant.

Be sure to hire the services of a professional repair or construction firm to help fix big issues at a moment’s notice. Always be quick to solve the genuine worries of a tenant, because holding out on these fixes might cause the tenant to withhold their rental payment, and that can be difficult for everyone involved.

Amenities

If the apartment is furnished, you must provide basic amenities. Providing good amenities like washing machines can help you raise the monthly rental cost justifiably, and can pay for themselves in a matter of months. Consider what would be best for your domestic requirements, such as weighing the home benefits of a gasoline vs electric pressure washer. It’s good to provide refrigerators, and you may need more than one depending on the number of people you bring into the property. If you’re letting out 8 rooms, 1 refrigerator is most likely not going to meet the requirements of those living there.

Despite living as a landlord, remember the times when you first moved out into your own rented apartments, and consider ‘would I be happy with the amenities that I have provided if I was living here.’ If you would be, you’re good to go.

Fair Use

If you decide to ‘bills inclusive’ in the monthly cost of the rent for your tenant, they should adhere to a ‘fair use’ policy. This basically prevents them from leaving the heating on all the time and racking up extortionate bills that through a contractual loophole, you’ll be responsible for. Stipulate clearly in your contract that a certain monetary amount if fine, but past that, the tenant should contribute more towards the payment.

Being a great landlord is as simple as identifying how you’d want to be treated if the roles were reversed. The renting relationship should be one of the best business relationships around if everyone upholds their side of the contract. A bad landlord is constituted as someone who doesn’t fairly adhere to their side. Remember, your tenants are living, breathing people, and have their lives to live. You’re not in the business to make best friends, but if your tenant respects you, be sure to pay it in kind. You’re sure to have a fruitful and lucrative relationship if you do this.

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Out of Storage Space? Don’t Panic!

Storage is one of the most valuable things in our homes. This is because we all have lots of things to display or simply keep safe. Be it old books, memorabilia, souvenirs or electronics. As a result, our homes can quickly run out of storage space and before you know, we’ll be piling up boxes in the living room and other empty spaces in our home, creating a lot of useless clutter that can be difficult to get rid of.

Whether you think you’re outgrowing your one bedroom apartment or your kids are hoarding too many toys and video games, here are a couple of tips to stop the panic and get you some more valuable storage space.

Brown Wooden Book Shelf

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Clear the garage

Our garages are probably one of the most underutilised rooms that we own. In fact, you might not even use it for your car because it’s usually more convenient just to keep your car in the driveway. As a result, the garage is an often forgotten part of the house that we just dump stuff in. Although it might be full now, giving it a quick cleanup and organising it can give you plenty of extra storage space for practically anything you could think of. With so much extra space that should usually be for your car, you won’t run out of storage space anytime soon after a garage cleanup.

Use your garden

If you have a decently sized garden, it means you have a lot of extra land to use as storage space. Consider some backyard sheds to store your items in, but unless it’s a high-quality shed you probably don’t want to store anything valuable in it because it could be stolen, lost or covered in cobwebs before you know it. Sheds are typically used for archival purposes or garden equipment such as spades, shovels and lawnmowers. It can be a great way to add some extra storage space, but don’t rely on it as a safe haven for all your family belongings!

apartment, architecture, contemporary

[Photo courtesy of Pixabay/pexels.com]

Your loft has a lot of extra storage space so don’t be afraid to use it. It might be dark and small, but some simple improvements such as adding a light could make it a lot more useable. If your loft is large enough for you to stand in, then it might be worth adding some boards to make it easier to store items or even renovating it as an extra room. This can be fairly expensive, but it’s worth the effort for the amount of extra space you get!

Declutter

Lastly, think about decluttering your home. You don’t want to leave useless junk around if it can be recycled or even sold on an auction website. Old pieces of furniture that you don’t use anymore could be worth a lot and there are times when old electronics could fetch a decent price from collectors. If you want to make a lot more space in your home, then the fastest way is going to be decluttering it and throwing out anything you really don’t need.

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Make An Entrance Every Time You Get Home

The entrance to our homes should, in many ways, be a priority. After all, it’s the first thing you see when you get back from a long day. And, it’s the first impression visitors, or passers-by get of your house. Yet, many of us let our entrances do what they will. At the end of the day, it’s an aspect a lot of us forget about. We already have enough work to be doing inside the house! But, you may find that all your other efforts go to waste if you don’t get this simple thing right. That’s why we’re going to look at the ways you can ensure the leadup to your home is red carpet worthy.

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The Walkway

If you’re now thinking about incorporating a red carpet into your walkway, you can forget it. It would get grubby in no time! But, that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of your walkway. Some of you may already have a paving stone walkway. Others may have nothing more than a worn trail in their grass. But, now is the time to incorporate the walkway of your dreams. It may be that you love your paving stones but would like to do more with them. Plain slabs aren’t very inspiring. So, take a look at the patterned options you could replace them with. Or, perhaps you want to stay away from paving stones and opt for gravel instead. This would look amazing, though it’s worth bearing in mind that you’d need to top it up occasionally! The right option for you depends on the work you’re willing to put it. Take your time deciding down what route you would like to return home each day.

Going for a Gate?

Think, too, about whether you would like to incorporate a gate and fence around your front lawn and entrance area. This can be a fantastic way to gain a little more privacy, and it often looks amazing, too. You could opt for a metal gate or a wooden option. Bear in mind that both need special measures to ensure they stay in good condition. A metal gate will need rust prevention to ensure it stays in the best condition and looks as good as possible. A wooden option, however, will need varnish to protect it from all weathers. If you’re planning to paint it, you’ll also need to invest in a specialist paint.

Bursting with Color

We all want to make a colorful entrance, don’t we? Make sure you get one every day by incorporating flowers into your entrance. You may want to border your walkway with flowerbeds. This would look amazing, though bear in mind that it could easily get out of control if you don’t take care. An easier option may be to incorporate plant pots along the way. These will be easy to keep neat, while still injecting that splash of color you’re after. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s an option you’re willing to keep neat!

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Have You Outgrown Your One Bedroom Apartment?

Homes are like hairstyles- something that once worked perfectly can become outdated no longer suit you later down the line. For example many young couples and professionals start out in small, one bedroom apartments. They’re cheaper to live in which is useful when you’re first starting out- especially if you work in the city and don’t want too much of a commute. When you’re young and out a lot, you don’t need masses of space at home. If you’re simply after somewhere to shower, sleep and eat then, it will do the job perfectly. However things can change as we go through life, and eventually, you might find yourself wishing for somewhere you can put down roots. Somewhere with a bit more space perhaps? If you want to do any of the following, chances are it’s time to start thinking about a bigger home!

4 Storey Building

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You Want To Start a Family

One of the biggest reasons people move to a more spacious home is because they want their family to grow. If you moved into an apartment before having children, the multiple flights of stairs in the building and lack of outside space probably didn’t bother you. It’s unlikely you looked into things like parks and schools. Having kids changes everything, you will become concerned over things that you never gave a second thought to before. How busy the road you live on is, what facilities are nearby for children. You probably looked into the crime rate before, but it’s even more of a deciding factor now. If your current home is unsuitable, it’s time to start looking for a new property for when you have children. If you don’t plan on moving right away, you could always rent a self storage unit and put things like a crib, baby furniture, pram and other large purchases in there. That way you could spread the cost, and you have everything ready for when you move, but without cluttering up your tiny apartment in the process.

You Love Entertaining Friends

In your younger years, socializing is all about bars, nightclubs, and parties. But as you get older, things change a little. Wine and cheese nights, dinner parties and afternoon tea at home become far more appealing than the sticky floors of your local haunt. However, entertaining in a tiny apartment can be difficult. Chances are you don’t have much of a kitchen or a dining space- perhaps just a breakfast bar or bistro set for two people. If you want to start hosting regular events at your place, it could be a sign that your home needs to be upgraded.

Women in Black Dress Standing Beside Black Office Rolling Chair

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You Want To Start Gardening

Gardening is a wonderful hobby to have. Growing something from essentially nothing and watching your garden bloom is always satisfying. By growing a mixture of fruit, vegetables, and herbs you can cut down on your weekly grocery bill, plus you’ll keep fit and it’s generally a fun and productive way to spend your time. If you dream of tending your garden, or sitting outside relaxing on a summer’s day, surrounded by flowers with a drink in your hand- a one bedroom apartment simply won’t do. Have a look at houses in your local area that have a good garden!

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