As the Build to Rent market (BTR) continues to grow and offer some relief on the housing shortage market, owners are keen to maximise on their investments in this lucrative rental space.
To fully leverage the rental potential in these new builds, it’s important to maintain that ‘new’ finish for as long as possible. Yes, much of this lies in the hands of the residents and setting clear responsibilities from the start but the critical component lies in interim inspections.
Interim inspections to detect issues early
Mid-term inspections combined with an easy reporting process or snagging system enables owners and agents to rectify issues as they arise – before they become much more costly problems. A quick look at tenancy dispute case studies shows just how problematic unresolved complaints, maintenance and damage can become.
The smallest details can lead to expensive remediation if left unchecked. Condensation and small leaks can lead to mould and damp. Cracks can reveal larger structural problems; ill-fitting windows and doors can cause draughts (and escalating bills), and poorly fitted electrics can become fire hazards. These are all common snags in a new build that can be easily picked up and sorted out – providing interim property visits occur.
Inspection reports, reporting processes and strong resident relationships all work together to help protect the property from succumbing to issues.
Mid-term visits to maintain quality
Interim visits go further than spotting issues the property; they also enable the owner to maintain the finish of the interiors.
Inspections often encourage a deep clean of the property by residents. They also give the agent or owner the opportunity to check the quality of contents, walls, floors and joinery against the initial inspection report. Basic areas for improvement are highlighted at the visits, which helps to keep paintwork, carpets, soft furnishings, tiling and any other fixtures in tip-top condition.
The longer the interior finish, fixtures and fittings are cared for, the greater the profit for the owner of the BTR property. Prevention and inspection make sense, financially.
Maintaining relationships in BTR properties
Whilst interim inspection visits should be a standard part of the tenancy agreement, it’s important that you don’t rely on those audits alone. If a problem arises outside of those diarised visits, the resident should be able to raise maintenance issues or flag damage as soon as they occur.
This process should be easy and accessible – and there’s no reason why that can’t happen with the excellent Proptech now available. Tenant/Landlord/Agent apps like Inventory Hive provide automated workflows for residents to communicate with the relevant parties about their property. The app also integrates with Fixlfo which allows agents to quickly arrange visits between third party contractors, trades people and residents. This provides a record for everyone involved and keeps lines of communication open and transparent, which in turn strengthens relationships and trust.
A strong relationship with the resident goes a long way in protecting the BTR asset. People who feel listened to and valued are more likely to take care of the property they are living in.