You've put your time, attention, and money into your investment, and it's looking great. Primed to attract great residents to call it home. But something could be majorly letting your property down, working against all that effort you've put in. What could that be?
Two words: communal areas.
Communal areas are what prospective residents first see when they view your property in person. It's their first impression. You could have a perfectly refurbished, beautifully modern property waiting for them, but walking through a poorly kept communal area to get there will set the tone.
Poor maintenance - things falling apart, lights not working, dirt and grime - will put doubt in the minds of prospective renters about what it'll be like to live there. People want to feel good about walking into their new home. They also want to feel proud to welcome guests there as well.
We recently took over management of a flat where the owner managed the property himself, but wasn't able to visit the property regularly in person. When we visited for our initial review, the communal area was not in great shape:
The owner wants to make improvements, but he's facing challenges getting other owners in the building on board. And unfortunately, the state of the communal area has affected feedback from viewings as we try to let the property with the owner's needs in mind. We should mention - the flat itself is in good condition. So now we're working with the owner to help him find a solution with the other owners in the building.
So how do your communal areas look? Could they use a clean, or perhaps a bit of maintenance TLC?
Not only do well-kept communal areas benefit you massively in terms of moving great residents into your home (and helping them to feel comfortable and happy) - it's the legal responsibility you share with all the owners in your building to maintain those communal areas.
An inviting entrance will elevate the impression your property makes!
If you find yourself in a position like our owner above, facing challenges getting other owners in your building on board, these tips from our Operations Director Reagan Bradley may prove useful:
1. If you have a few owner occupiers, and people don’t want to be involved in the day to day (or can’t be) – employ a managing agent on your behalf (especially for just the block). They’ll look after repairs, insurance, cleaning and anything else required. They can charge out a service charge, meaning you aren’t left chasing unresponsive owners later down the line.
We should note that block management is a specialist service that we don't currently offer, but we're happy to advise what to look for in a good one!
2. Up to date communication methods are essential. If you aren't able to reach someone, try speaking to their residents and see whether they have up to date information – they almost always will have this.
3. In a worst-case scenario, you may need to use legal action in order to prompt action from unwilling or uncooperative leaseholders.
And remember, communal areas include shared gardens. Whether these areas are maintained makes a massive difference to your overall impression on prospective residents. Will they be able to enjoy a sunny afternoon here?
If you have questions about communal areas, or you'd like advice on how to handle a specific challenging situation, get in touch with our resident expert Reagan Bradley at Reagan@paramount-properties.co.uk. Solving problems is her bread and butter (and she's really good at it - trust us!).