An interesting question got posed in the landlord forum yesterday,
what kind of maintenance costs landlords have had to pay over the years?
So I’m going to answer it from my personal experience…
So my costs will be based on maintaining 3-4 BTL properties over the past 5 years. I can tell you already, I haven’t had to dig too deep so far. Actually, I’ve been extraordinarily fortunate, I know that, especially after hearing some of the horror stories from fellow landlords. I’ve heard some stories that have been truly mortifying.
However, despite my good fortune, I still think it’s important to share my experiences, because it provides balance, and also highlights some of the costs that can incur during your watch.
In reality, it’s literally impossible to provide a universal figure for estimated maintenance costs, it will be different for every landlord. What I think is far more important is for all landlords to expect the unexpected (i.e. keep a contingency fund) and learn from the experiences (i.e. when something breaks down, think of reliable and robust ways to reduce the chances of it occurring again).
1] Painting (£400)
After mid to long term tenants vacate it’s usually inevitably that the entire property will be in desperate need of a repaint.
So I’ve had to do this twice so far, both which involved a 2 bedroom house.
I painted the entire house myself, so labour costs were avoided, but if you value your time (I clearly don’t value mine), that’s something you want to consider.
The £400 expense includes paint and all the accessories e.g. brushes, trays, masking tape etc. All the usual jazz.
2] Replacing front door (£150)
My ex-savage tenant managed to smash the front door in half. How it happened is anyone’s guess, and the explanation my tenant provided was less than satisfying, “it wasn’t me”
Okay, great. That was useful.
In any case, this incident opened my eyes to the world of front doors, specifically how ludicrously expensive they can be (who fucking knew?). You can read more about that awful experience here: I’ve fallen out with my ex-Tenant over her security deposit. That was a fun experience.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have an Inventory Form in place, otherwise I would have been able to shake the pennies out of my tenant’s security deposit to cover the costs. However, after tedious negotiations, I did manage to reluctantly squeeze £100 out of her, which was certainly better than a kick in the nuts.
I ended up paying £150 out of my own pocket.
Always conduct thorough property inventories. Lesson learned.
3] Replacing garden fence (£80)
Stupid Mother Nature knocked down part of the garden fence in the back garden. Fortunately, none of the panels or posts needed replacing, just replanting and properly reinforced.
The handyman who did the repair insists it will take a tropical hurricane to knock them down again.
We’ll see, mate!
4] Replacing carpet (£400)
After a long-term tenant vacated, it was apparent that she and her children had a fetish for shitting and pissing on carpets. There were questionable stains scattered around everywhere.
Rather than wasting time and money on getting the carpets professionally cleaned, I just had the whole lot replaced. Yes, some times a splash of soap and a good old scrub will do the trick, but in this case, it just didn’t make economical sense.
5] Plumbing & Heating (£600)
This has been my biggest expenditure over the years. Painful, in fact.
It turns out that one of my properties was fitted with a genuinely bullshit boiler, that’s essentially a worthless tin-can. Consequently, it’s cost me £600 to maintain to date.
At first the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) needed replacing, and then a valve needed replacing.
The next time it fails me – which it certainly will – it’s going straight onto the scrap heap. I’m done with it. Piece of shit.
6] Electrical Fault (£120)
I can’t remember what, why or when, but I remember the expense. Typical tight-fisted landlord, right?
At one point the electrics failed in one of my properties. Something or another needed replacing, and it cost £120.
7] Gas Safety Certificate (£600)
A Gas Safety Certificate is a legal required for every BTL, which needs renewing per annum.
Each safety certificate costs approx £65 per property, per year. I’d say I’ve spent about £600 in total.
8] Other miscellaneous junk (£300)
Other small issues over the years that have cropped up:
- Poly filling holes in walls
- Refitting kitchen units
- Replacing door knobs, light switches, and plug sockets
- Multiple bottles of Mr Muscle sink unblocker (No, I’m serious)
I estimate I spent about £300 over 4-5 years on “other stuff”
The Total (£2,650)
I don’t think that’s bad at all. I’ve definitely been one lucky son-of-a-gun *touches wood*
I may have missed a few maintenance costs out, but that’s all I can remember for now. Landlords usually remember the big financial hits, because we weep over that shit for years. I’m no different. So I’m pretty confident I covered the main expenses.
How much have you paid out?
How much do you pay out yearly or have you paid out in total for maintenance costs?
Also, what’s been, or consistently is, the most painful maintenance expense(s)?
Disclaimer: I'm just a landlord blogger; I'm 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I'm a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.