When you started a property management company, the chances are that you didn’t expect to be on your hands and knees cleaning a bathroom floor before a potential tenant shows up for a house viewing. The life of a working landlord will never be glamorous, but you don’t have to slave away for hours on end cleaning your property when you follow these hacks…
Let’s start with the obvious one. If you’re too busy to clean a house from head to toe, hand over the responsibility to a commercial cleaning company with a proven track record. Not only will they have access to chemicals and techniques that most of the general public won’t know about, but they deep clean for a living, and will know how to get your property sparkling, ready for photography and viewings, helping you attract your next tenant quickly.
Whether you’re a portfolio landlord, you used to live in your rented property or you only have one property in your portfolio, it’s never nice seeing a property trashed. The unfortunate truth is that, from time to time, you’ll likely deal with nightmare tenants, but it’s important to view your property as a business and don’t take dirt or damage personally. Document damage to take to a claims court if necessary, and move on; there’s no room for emotional attachment.
If you’ve got toilets that are looking worse for wear, spray them with some spirit of salts or hydrochloric acid which will eat through the grime. Alternatively, a bottle of cheap full-sugar cola and bicarbonate of soda will get your toilet back to its shiny white self in no time.
If you’re going to start anywhere, look at your oven and extractor fan. Grease often builds up in extractor fans and, if left untreated, dirty ovens can be a fire hazard. Tenancy agreements should stipulate good appliance maintenance, but if yours has been left in a poor state, you should enlist the help of a commercial company who can blitz appliances safely and quickly.
If you live in a hard water area, you’ll know that limescale can be a nightmare. From kettles and showerheads to toilets and taps, limescale can cause all sorts of problems, but if you deal with it quickly, your appliances won’t suffer. We recommend using a limescale treatment or adding half a lemon to your tap ends to remove limescale; it’s affordable and eco-friendly!
Even if your tenant was the cleanest person in the world, the chances are that you’ll need to repaint walls after their extended tenancy. Freshening up kitchens, living rooms, hallways and bedrooms doesn’t have to be expensive; buy some neutral colours and paint through the property. If you have several properties, choose a couple of brands, paint colours, and carpet styles that you can buy in bulk to standardise. You can reuse cut-offs and left-overs.
Window cleaning can be pretty tiresome, but if you use a basic mix of warm water, vinegar and washing up liquid, your glass will be glistening without breaking a sweat. Squeegee blades will be your best friend, here, and a microfiber cloth will help you dry them without streaks. If you’re a bit of a perfectionist and want a crystal-clear result, clean inside windows vertically and outside horizontally, so you can work out which side any smears are on.
If your property doesn’t smell fresh and welcoming, you’ll struggle to attract potential tenants. Do the “sniff test” on appliances and use bicarbonate of sofa solution to remove smells. And stock up on candles, room sprays and plug-ins, but avoid the cheapest supermarket brands as they can smell offputting to more discerning tenants; it pays to make the investment!
All landlords fear mould. No matter how often you encourage tenants to air their rooms out and avoid hanging washing indoors, most forget and mould begins to build up. You can use toilet paper and strong bleach to remove patches of mould around baths, toilets, and shower cubicles, but we recommend hiring a professional to treat mould growing in any other areas.
Kerb appeal is incredibly important, so spend some time organising your property’s gardens, sweeping up leaves, maintaining flower beds and mowing the lawn. You certainly shouldn’t start planting trees and rose bushes, but a pack of cheap nasturtiums from the garden centre can brighten up outdoor spaces and make your property look and feel more welcoming.
These ten cleaning hacks will save you time, money, and ultimately help you find a tenant for your property. Be regimental, consider making a checklist, and clean quickly; the longer your property is empty (and dirty!) the longer it’ll take to start generating you a return.
And when you do find a tenant, consider signing to Billing Better and offering them an all-inclusive service, covering all of their household bills under one monthly payment.