How much work should you let your tenants carry out on your property?

How much work should you let your tenants carry out on your property? [Image: gpointstudio via iStock]

Most buy-to-let property investors will at some stage find themselves debating whether they should allow their tenants to carry out work to personalise the property to their tastes.

As a landlord, how much you allow your tenants to do depends on a number of factors. These include, but are certainly not limited to, whether the sitting tenants are staying in your property for the long term, how much you trust them and what sort of work they’d like to carry out.

A new report by the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) found that tenants are increasingly wanting to carry out work to personalise their properties. The AIIC said that this could actually benefit buy-to-let investors, adding that landlords should be more open-minded to requests from tenants.

As well as boosting their comfort levels and happiness in their homes, tenants carrying out work on properties can see them performing DIY tasks, which then actively improves the property.

Patricia Barber, chair of the AIIC, said: “It’s clear that tenants are increasingly willing to spend their own money on improving their rental property and this is certainly something landlords should think about.”

She added that the property market is seeing more long-term tenants who are committed to living in a property for an extended period of time and who want good decor. She said: “Landlords who cautiously allow tenants to put their own stamp on a property could benefit from a lower turnover of tenants and an improved and well maintained property at the end of the contract.”

A recent survey by Plentific found that 23 per cent of tenants have undertaken work amounting to £500 on improvements to their homes, which then benefits the owner in the long term as their property is being maintained and potentially registering an increase in value.

For landlords to be able to establish whether they will allow their tenants to work on their properties, communication is key to building trust. You should listen to what your tenant is proposing and keep an open mind. If you don’t like the sound of what they would like to do, suggest a compromise that keeps both parties satisfied.

Letting tenants redecorate can help them feel more at home, which should then make them more likely to keep the property in good condition and can make them more likely to remain for a long period.

Keep in mind, however, that a poor attempt at redecorating - whether painting, putting up shelves or something else entirely - will likely lower the value of your property. It’s therefore important to ensure you can trust your tenants to do a good job.

If you know that your property is very much in need of some upkeep, it could be worth paying professionals to undertake the work. This will go some way towards making your tenants feel valued and listened to, which could be important in your long-term relationship.