A HIGH level of quality, professional and thorough ongoing maintenance is of the utmost importance for landlords to protect their property investment.

Inexpensive minor repairs can often prevent expensive and extensive restoration further down the line, and be considerably simpler to arrange.

Mike Campbell of Belvoir Lettings says: “Spend a penny to save a pound is an old saying that definitely applies in this context. In fact, simple preventative maintenance can prevent greater costs down the line.”

Strong, efficient maintenance not only cuts costs, it obviously also provides a better living environment for your tenant and creates a strong impression as a landlord. This in turn will encourage them to stay longer.

Warning signs There are many early signs to keep an eye out for that tell you when maintenance may be necessary.

Look out for water damage, cracked or discoloured plug sockets, blocked guttering, overgrown gardens and, most importantly, signs of damp and mould.

Condensation in particular needs to be nipped in the bud quickly, especially with so much rain this summer! So regularly review gutters, a main cause of damp, especially with trees and greenery nearby.

When it does rain, take a look at the outside of the property to spot leaky gutters, and take a look inside your the attic to check for leaks. Tide-marks and wet patches are obvious danger signs, and wooden windows and doors need repairs and repainting at least every five years.

Maintenance monitoring Many landlords say they find it difficult to monitor maintenance needs without living on-site themselves. The answer lies in tenant feedback and regular inspections.

Your tenant has a duty to inform you about any obvious issues, but don’t rely on their guidance completely. Room-by-room checks allow you to check on the property, as well as on the happiness of the tenant themselves.

Maintenance can be planned, or responsive, but if you’re having to react to serious issues that have gone unnoticed it can be much more stressful and costly.

Minimum disruption In the event of any major issues, maintenance can be a big disruption for the tenant. So how can you keep their grievances to a minimum?

“Always work around the tenant and ask them when they would rather have the work done,” says Mike. “And, usually, if the problem requires immediate attention most tenants are happy to accommodate this.”

If an emergency arises, communication is key, so it helps to be on friendly terms with tenants at all times. If the work is planned then it’s best to try for void periods, during work days or even during holidays when there will be nobody to bother.

Maintenance signs to look out for...

n Blocked drains n Leaking or blocked guttering n Leaking windows n Mould n Condensation n Water damage n Broken fencing n Signs of damp n Cracked electrical sockets n Leaking taps n Cracked chimney stacks n Dislodged or broken roof tiles n Erosion of shower and bath seals n Crumbling brick or stonework n Deteriorating pointing n Wood beetle infestations n Peeling paintwork