Fixing wear and tear is par for the course for any landlord. However, there are a few simple steps you can take to tenant-proof your property. Acting now will save yourself the headache of fixing everything during the next tenancy, saving time and money.
Install carpets at your peril. It doesn’t matter if your tenant is an Amish grandmother; your deep-pile cream number will at some point come into contact with both red wine and bodily fluids. When choosing flooring, keep in mind the mantra: “Will vomit stain this?”
The obvious budget option is lino. Beloved by 1980s interior designers, linoleum is cheap, cheerful and 100 per cent wipe clean. However, if you’re in the market for something more stiletto-proof, you might want to consider tiling. Impervious to everything but the very heaviest objects, just remember to keep a few spare in case someone drops a dumbbell.
Fly in toilet
Men are notoriously poor at keeping a steady aim, especially if the toilet in question is not their own. The floorboards near toilets in bed and breakfasts around the country are riddled with holes left by woodworm larvae attracted to the sugars in urine. Fortunately, there is an easy fix: men love peeing on small insects. Put a sticker of a fly in the toilet bowl to keep splatter down to a minimum.
The chance of windows breaking increases exponentially if there are children living in your property. Short of insisting your tenants keep their spawn locked in the basement, there’s only one option: replace your windows with plexiglass. If it’s good enough for police holding cells, it’s good enough for you. Bricks bounce off these bad boys.
As with carpets, after a few months your sofas will light up like Christmas trees under a forensic examiner’s UV light. Only buy a fabric sofa if you’re a masochist. Your only option here is leather. If you’re a tree-hugging vegan, faux leather will do.
Investing in hard wearing and utilitarian kitchen units is a must for any landlord, but it only takes one flood to destroy them all. The solution is simple: keep them well off the floor. Installing units with legs has the added benefit of making it easier to clean underneath, a notorious rotten food and rat dropping trap.
Nothing horrifies a landlord more than walking into their property and finding the tenant has overloaded a socket with multiple power strips in defiance of clearly laid down health and safety guidelines. Nip this problem in the bud and install plentiful sockets before you start letting the property out.
Chances are the majority of superficial damage to your property is going to be caused by drunk tenants stumbling from the front door to their room. Why not help them out by painting glow in the dark directions on the floor? They’ll get to bed safely and you’ll save yourself elbow-shaped holes in your dry-walling.
After ISIS and estate agents, sealant is literally the worst thing there is. Within weeks of installing the vile stuff it will be black with mould. Vile. Take a leaf from the Scandinavians, who have been installing silicon sealant-free wet rooms for years.
Your sink will take a pounding, so it’s worth investing in something bulletproof. Literally. Go for a stainless steel one: you’ll thank yourself next time your tenant drops a Le Creuset casserole dish in it. You should also consider a sink that sits on top of the work surface to avoid the inevitable leaks in the sealing around the sink.
Plastic sheet on bed
OK, we’re just kidding. But don’t waste money on nice beds. Really.