As a landlord, maintaining your property is of utmost importance. Whether you own office premises, retail buildings, or have a portfolio of buy-to-let homes, it’s important to keep on top of maintenance to ensure you retain property value and attract the best tenants.
Here are the top practices to keep your valuable investment in order and get the best returns from it.
Get a commercial EPC
Since April 2018, UK law means that you cannot rent out or sell your commercial property unless it has a commercial energy performance certificate. An EPC shows exactly how energy efficient your property is, which helps tenants decide whether to rent your building or another. EPCs give your property an energy efficiency ranking from A to G and the certificate lasts for 10 years.
The benefit of having an up-to-date commercial EPC is that it recommends any improvements and shows the savings you can expect each year once those upgrades have been implemented.
If you’re thinking of making improvements to a commercial property, getting an EPC will help you see what changes are most cost effective, whether it is new double glazing, better insulation or upgraded heating boilers and air-conditioning units. It helps landlords make an informed decision.
Keep your tenants happy
Good tenants are worth attracting and keeping. If you find your commercial property vacant, not only are you losing income, you have to delve into the task of replacing them! Ensure that you are doing everything you can to keep them happy.
If tenants have issues with repairs or leaks that are the landlord’s responsibility, they want to be assured that you will give it your urgent attention and get it fixed fast. By responding immediately to their complaint will give them some reassurance that you are a responsible and caring landlord. Of course, words are cheap; you need to follow up with action by the relevant professional, whether it requires a plumber, electrician, or builder.
Go one better by having a schedule – keep on top of any noticeable changes throughout the year. Check the state of the flooring and ensure that it doesn’t become a safety hazard by being too worn. Go over the fixtures of the building.
Make the essential upgrades
When it comes to upgrades, one area not to prevaricate on is tenant safety. Make sure there are no hazards such as broken pavements, torn carpets, or broken glass.
Adding an alarm system and security lighting that is motion-activated will give tenants an added sense of security, both for themselves and their valuables.
Visit the premises regularly and make a show of greeting your tenants and making the rounds to ensure there are no outstanding maintenance issues. Make sure it is clean and well decorated, so it looks appealing to your tenants and their clientele. Check the rubbish areas to ensure they are tidy, clean, and efficiently organised. Nothing is more unattractive than waste bins overflowing with rubbish due to being an insufficient size.
Invest in the property
Have an annual budget for improvements and upgrades. It keeps your commercial premises looking good and most improvements are tax deductible. It’s better financially to keep on top of improvements rather than having to do a massive renovation after years of neglect.
Make regular inspections on the roof, windows and doors and repair anything that is damaged before it becomes a bigger, more expensive job. Keep the air intakes clean, replace filters regularly, and have heating boilers serviced on an annual contract. You also need to keep on top of the required gas certificates and ensure that fire and emergency equipment is functional and meets the legal requirements.
Remember that upgrading your premises is an investment, retaining and growing its value. A well-presented building will be easier to let and will attract tenants faster. Don’t ignore landscaping, footpaths, and car parks. Like a home, first impressions matter.
It’s easy to start today by getting a commercial EPC and then draw up your plan of improvements for the forthcoming year.