I’m a landlord, but I have also got thirty years experience in the building trade behind me. I’m presently converting a large very run-down semi-detached house into three flats. Before that I did a major renovation of a smaller house (roof off, walls stripped to bare masonry, new floors, significant layout changes) which I then sold. I’m a carpenter by trade, but have done just about every job involved in maintaining houses and flats that you might imagine, plus a few that you might not! I’ve also worked as a shopfitter in London, as well as building scenery and props for pop promo videos (also in London). Other experience includes working as the master carpenter on a major renovation of a 400 year old Grade 2 listed farmhouse in Devon, and in the same role on a high-class conversion of a stable block to four high-spec flats at a Buddhist monastery in South Wales. I’ve worked on many down-market projects as well, so have a wealth of experience at both ends of the market. I don’t know everything about buildings (no-one does), but I know where to look for what I don’t know, so I can generally find it very quickly.
The key to saving money on maintenance is in the thinking.
When doing any work on a property, from a light refurbishment all the way to a major renovation or conversion to flats, or even a new-build project, it is vital to ask yourself what could possibly go wrong and then take steps to prevent it. Be proactive not reactive. Money spent wisely at the outset could save thousands later by future-proofing the building from unnecessary faults. For example consider where leaks are most likely in the plumbing system and put access hatches there. Use appropriate materials, for example use the right type of silicone sealant around a bath and shower tray – a perpetual source of minor repairs for many landlords.
Tenants aren’t as careful with a rented flat as they might be if they owned it themselves – I will show you the many ways I have learnt to make buildings as resilient as possible to the kind of use and abuse that rental property can suffer.
Richard Greenland – Landlord, Developer, and Builder – will write here every Tuesday about building low maintenance flats.