If you are servicing a mortgage on a rental property, there should be as small a time lag as possible till the property is ready for rental. However, since we don’t live in rental utopia, here’s what landlords can do to make the most out of a possibly tenuous situation in the event of an inevitable delay:
Direct the contractors where to focus their efforts
Some contractors require more hand holding than others. If you find yourself in the hot seat due to poor project management on the part of your contractor, it is now time to take over the steering wheel and move things along. First up, get the contractor to prioritise certain areas of the property to make it as habitable as possible. The suggested order is as follows:
- Master bedroom
- One bathroom, preferably the ensuite master bathroom
- All other bedrooms
The dining room, study room, living room, and other miscellaneous areas can be spruced up by the by.
Of course, be sure to incorporate your tenant’s views and preferences. If they have a toddler and having a ready nursery is important to them, you may have to leave the kitchen works to a later date and work on the nursery first.
For future renovation endeavours in your rental property, it may be wise to sit down with the contractor prior to commencement to ensure that both of you are on the same page regarding timeline and areas of priority.
Offer a peace offering or discount off rental
Let’s face it, you tenants aren’t going to be happy campers having to put up with the inconvenience of on-going repair works whilst occupying the unit. One could potentially risk losing the tenancy; read the clauses of your rental agreement carefully to check for grounds for early termination of lease.
While a discount off rental rates may seem like the path of least resistance, hold your horses and don’t be too quick to play that card. Sometimes, all it takes is a reconciliatory gift to smooth the ruffled feathers of a frazzled tenant. A complimentary Playstation or new television, perhaps a waiver off utility fees for the first month, might be enough to soothe things over.
Of course, a sincere and heartfelt apology helps mend fences and allows for an amiable landlord-tenant relationship to resume.
If the kitchen isn’t ready, ensure that kitchen appliances are functional
If your contractor can’t finish the kitchen on time, you need to make sure that essential appliances are available. Fridges are a must for obvious reasons; most big name appliance stores offer same-day delivery for orders placed before a certain cut-off time.
If the stove cannot be installed on time, you can employ a stopgap measure such as buying your tenant a microwave oven, single burner table-top stove or an oven toaster.
It is also important to ensure that a functional washing machine and dryer is available as these items are essential to the peaceful habitation of the tenant.
Arrange for painting works to be done at the tenant’s convenience and schedule
Check with your tenants what suits them best. Are they comfortable having the painting guys come around while they are out? Or do they prefer to be around as not everyone is comfortable leaving strangers unsupervised at home.
Invest in good quality paints such as those with low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC). VOC paints typically do not have a strong unpleasant ordour and are not a sensory inconvenience to your tenant.
Make the effort to bring in a few floor fans with strong velocity speed to ensure the unit is properly ventilated during the painting process. This also has the added benefit of ensuring that the paint dries at a faster rate.
Have a separate bin for contractors to use
Your tenants have garbage, and your contractor has a LOT of garbage. Do not inconvenience your tenants by making them carry out trash bags loaded with masking tape rolls and other waste material; they’re annoyed enough as it is.
Take your contractors in hand. Instil the fear of God in them never to use the unit’s rubbish chute. Having a clogged rubbish chute is no laughing matter and we need to avoid such a predicament at all costs.
Instruct your contractor to bring their own bins, or use empty appliances boxes as garbage containers (Hint: boxes for TVs are huge). Make sure they clear up after themselves at the end of each day.
Safeguard your tenant’s belongings
Have your tenants lock their own rooms, and make sure the contractor doesn’t have the keys to said rooms. If work has to be done in those rooms, ensure the tenant is around to supervise the process.
In any case, advise your tenants to keep their valuables in a secure place while the contractor is at work.
Check with your tenant if he or she is comfortable with the contractor having possession of the key to the front door for easy access. Be respectful and mindful of their needs and preferences at all times.
Afterall, an appeased tenant makes for the building of a peaceful and positive relationship in time to come.