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“Repairs and maintenance” is often used as an umbrella term for anything that needs doing to a property, but there are actually four quite different categories involved, all of which should be regularly considered.
To begin with, repairs. These are a reactive response to something going wrong, and examples include a blocked pipe, a broken oven or a leaking roof. Repairs are the bare minimum required to maintain the property in an adequate condition.
Number two is seasonal maintenance. Ideally, these are items that should be regularly addressed to ensure the number of repairs to the property are kept to a minimum. Examples include gutter clearing, garden pruning, painting to prevent cracking and deterioration, checking the roof tiles, and regular pest control.
The third is investment maintenance, which is the planned replacement of any item in the property that depreciates in value, including carpets, blinds, ovens, hot water systems, and insect screens. These enable a good level of control over the standard of the property and the cost of maintenance.
Last but not least, is capital works. This is any new element that is introduced into the property. Examples include adding a dishwater, a sprinkler system, or installing an air-conditioning system. This type of expense is likely to actually increase the value of the property as well as the rental return. With consideration of all four categories, the value of the property is likely to increase.
Property Management Specialists’ Sarah Pewhairangi, writes, “I’m sure you’ve heard your property manager say, ‘We are required to allow the tenant fair wear and tear’ before. This may appear as an excuse to let the tenant get away with damaging your property, but there is a way for owners to prepare for this. Rental properties should have minor refurbishment every 7-10 years. This could mean paint, floor coverings and window furnishings.
“As time progresses, minor damage or ‘fair wear and tear’ gets exponentially worse so unfortunately, your property manager has to give a little more grace to each tenant as the years roll on. This is a very normal cycle for an investment property. Put a little bit of money away each year so that when it gets to the stage where ‘fair wear and tear’ is now well beyond acceptable, you now have the funds to freshen the property up, increase the rent and attract good quality tenants to your property.”