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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Beat The Heat And Win Back Your Home

It’s definitely getting hotter and it’s becoming harder to spend your time indoors. However, we can’t ignore the nightmare that is the muggy, musty house forever. What we can do, however, is beat it. Here’s how you prepare your home for the worst that summer has to bring and make it into that cool retreat from the heat that we all need. Just a few habits and additions can make the home a much more pleasant place to survive the heat.

Fan, Keys, Mirror, House, Indoors

[Photo courtesy of StockSnap/pixabay.com]

We spring clean for a reason

If there’s anything that’s worse than a home that’s too hot, it’s a home that’s hot, humid, and dusty. Dust isn’t just unpleasant and an allergen. It also makes it a lot harder to control the airflow of the home. It builds in vents and air conditioning units, make them less effective and efficient, driving up the costs. Go for a thorough spring clean of the home and try to stay on top of dust as much as possible. It’s a lot easier to both control dust and to circulate air by decluttering the home, as well. If there’s any furniture you can spare for the moment, move it into storage so you have more spacious, airy rooms that are easy to clean and cool.

Keep the outdoors to the outdoors

Your first thought when summer rolls around might be to let the sunlight in and throw the windows open. However, if you’re cooling the interior, that’s only going to invite hot air in. Solar heating also plays a massive role in increasing the temperature of the room. Use fans as a more energy efficient method of circulation in the room you’re using and close that window, using sun blockers to keep the heat out without completely darkening the room. Don’t neglect the heat that builds in the attic that can get upwards of 150 degrees in the evening. Seal it up by using isotherm insulation and making sure that you don’t have any leaks by way of cracked or missing roof tiles. In the evening, if it’s cooler outside, then you crack open the window and use a window fan to cool the house down.

Remember, energy equals heat

If there’s any reason to get more energy efficient, it’s to make the home a lot more comfortable. Every appliance you keep on when you’re not using it is just adding more unnecessary heat. This effect is in full force in the kitchen most of all. Extractors are well and good, but there are other ways to use less energy when cooking and thus create less heat. For one, you can cook outside. But you can also use a microwave or toaster oven instead of a full-sized oven or use the refrigerator to defrost frozen goods instead of the microwave.

Remember, working to make the home easier to cool isn’t just going to make summer a lot more bearable. It’s going to help you drive down the costs of controlling the environment of your home. Save your money alongside your sanity by following the tips above.

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Practical Bathroom Ideas

The bathroom is one of the most heavily used rooms in any home and it needs to hold up to use 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Because most bathrooms present a moist and humid environment, safety can be an issue and care should be taken to make the room easy to use. Keep clothing and wet towels off the floor by having enough towel bars, robe hooks and rack along with clothes and laundry hampers.

Store bath toys in a plastic laundry basket which can be kept in the bath tub when not in use or invest in suction-cup wall mount bath toy hammocks which can help to corral bath toy clutter which may pose a slip and fall hazard. Bath mats and rugs should always feature anti-skid backing to help prevent the possibility of slippage.

Bathroom, Wood Furniture, Shower, Modern Bathtub

[Photo courtesy of La-Belle-Galerie/pixabay.com]

The installation of a handheld shower head can vastly improve bathroom functionality – most can be installed by the average homeowner and do not require the services of a plumber. It is easy to shampoo hair, bathe children, wash pets and water plants with a handheld shower head and they are helpful when you need to clean the tub or shower enclosure.

Another practical update for any bathroom is a heated towel rack – there are freestanding and wall mounted models along with counter top towel warmers. Not only will you enjoy wrapping yourself in a warm towel after bathing, you will find that a towel warmer is useful for drying swimwear and fine washables, warming blankets and bathing clothes and drying towels quickly, which may also help to prevent mold and mildew.

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Are You Making The Most Of Your Yard?

Now that the summer is pretty much here, we all want to be able to enjoy more time outside. With warmer weather and lighter nights, it always just seems a shame to stay indoors. But, sometimes, you can feel as if your yard just isn’t cutting it. Whether you live out in the country and have a lot of space to play with, or you’ve got just a small backyard, it’s time to start making the most out of the garden you’ve got. And if you’re not exactly sure where to start, here are a few ideas to think over.

backyard, bench, daylight

[Photo courtesy of Pixabay/pexels.com]

Create A Dining Space

The first thing you should think about doing will not only be a benefit to you but the whole family. Everyone loves to be able to enjoy their breakfast, lunch, or dinner outdoors when the weather is nice. But to do that, you need a suitable dining space. So make sure you look for the right outdoor dining set and even a grill. Backyard barbecue spaces can be super fun to create, and in the summer, you will always get a lot of use out of them.

Enjoy Gorgeous Flowers

When you have a garden, it can be a shame not to see it flourish. You don’t have to be the most green fingered person to make it happen either. Whether you pick out some pretty flowers at the garden center and plant a few in pots by your door, or fill your entire garden with beautiful blooms, having flowers in your yard can give it a new lease of life. As well as creating a relaxing atmosphere and attracting nature, you can also clip them to bring indoors and put in vases.

blur, blurred, eco

[Photo courtesy of skitterphoto/pexels.com]

Keep Animals

If you have a lot of space, particularly if you live in the countryside, you might want to think about keeping animals. A coat can be great to keep your grass short, and then there’s always the option to keep chickens and enjoy fresh eggs in the morning. Even if it seems like a lot of work, you can do your research online so that things like chicken incubators are explained to you to make it easier. It will also take your love of growing vegetables to the next level.

Build A Sanctuary

Then, as a little treat for yourself, you might want to think about creating a little sanctuary. Whether that’s a garden house where you can escape for an hour or two of peace, a lovely seating area in the sun, or even a hot tub to soak your evenings away in, your yard can often give you a lot of potential to work with.

Make It Fun

With the adults covered, you might want to think about adding in something for your kids too. There are lots of outdoor play areas that you could consider building or putting in yourself. You just need to work of what space you have first. Then, your kids can also be kept entertained when everyone is enjoying some time outside.

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