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What do you look for in a rental house?

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#1 Mitis angelam

Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:16 PM

In a bit over a year, DH and I expect to be moving out of our home, and hope to rent it out.  It was a very neglected rental property for a long time before we bought it, and it was honestly a dump.  Structurally sound, but sadly in need of much work and TLC.

So we've been gradually fixing it up, but the emphasis here is very much on the gradually.  I've walked around today and made a list of everything I'd like to do before renting it, and it's a looong list.  I'm not sure we'll be able to do it all in the time we have (or on our budget)!

So I'm wondering how to prioritise.  What's most important to people who rent?  That the garden is low-maintenance?  That all the windows have fly screens?  That all the cupboards close properly?  Something I haven't even thought of?  What do you look for, or what turns you off a property?

#2 ♥~Bodhichitta~♥

Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:19 PM

For me I like a property which isn't too dark inside - so feels light and airy.

And security screens are a must for me.

Apart from that I am not too fussy :-).  The cottage I am renting now doesn't have a lock up garage, and really only 2 useable bedrooms, but that's fine for DS and I.

#3 9ferals

Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:25 PM

In Perth - availabiliity! Everything else is a bonus.

But, in the spirit of actually saying something helpful:

- light.  My DH automatically says "no" to houses that are dark in the main living areas.  Adding a skylight isn't too pricey and makes a world of difference.
- easy care. We aren't gardeners, so something that requires minimal maintenance suits us.
- fresh.  Even if it's an older property, something that looks fresh and clean is going to be more appealing.  In practice, this probably means painting, or maybe just a bit of a scrub.  Especially in the bathroom.

Good luck!

#4 AnotherFeral

Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:27 PM

- Low maintenance garden is a plus for sure. Even then a lot of tenants won't do much, maybe just mow when it becomes necessary, i.e. don't get too sentimental about your garden, or include garden maintenance in the rent.
- Fly screens, yes.
- The basics in good working order, e.g. windows open & close properly, locks are working properly, no water damage in kitchen cupboards, carpets not festy,
- Storage
- Dishwasher or space & connection for one
- Internal laundry with space for a large machine.
- Decent window coverings (HATE vertical blinds!)

Edited by aratiaw, 07 December 2012 - 01:28 PM.

#5 ~chiquita~

Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:42 PM

What I look for,

Built ins in bedrooms (no built ins I don't look)
Easily maintained gardens and lawns.
Fly screens, security doors.
Relatively modern bathroom and kitchen. If older must be clean and in good condition.
Natural light - lots of it.
R/C air con.

#6 spear_maiden

Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:51 PM

I might be a tad picky wink.gif .

- no carpets (or minimal newish carpet) due to mod to severe allergies
- working locks on doors and windows
- space for dishwasher
- oven in good condition
- heating/cooling are much loved by us, even if only fans in the  bedrooms tho not a necessity if areas of house are easily cordoned off
- I thoroughly check for signs of mould on ceilings and in bathroom.  I don't want to spend any more of my life scrubbing black mould from hard-to-reach places due to ventilation problems in the roofs of rentals
- nice amt of daylight able to filter in
- the hot water system is now on my list of things to check as this is always the thing that LLs let go for as long as possible I'm assuming due to costs.  In over 10 years of renting, we've had an issue with at least 5 systems in disrepair and LLs refusing to fix or replace them.  So if it looks newish, all the better. May I gently suggest a kitty that at all times contains enough funds to cover replacing a broken hot water system? wink.gif
- a linen cupboard and/or bedroom cupboards are also much loved by us

- low maintenance garden.  After our last place with grass that grew into a jungle every 2-3 wks, we'd happily pay a tad extra rent if gardening was included.
- fully fenced, or backyard fenced.
- an outdoor living space is a winner with us.  Doesn't have to be huge or fancy, an uncovered deck/slab is better than none at all.
- security screens where possible
- car space
- clothesline

So...hope I haven't scared you lol.

Basically, any features that help minimise our electricity bills and contents insurance.

eta:  almost forgot - storage space for random stuff we accumulate as we live, either downstairs or a small/medium shed

Edited by Studybug, 07 December 2012 - 01:57 PM.

#7 Guest_- Poppy -_*

Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:54 PM

1. Big back yard with lawn and fencing for toddler and dog.

2. Aircon/ heating

3. In a safe area

4. Wardrobes and cupboards

5. How secure it is, locks on windows, doors, security screens, carport/garage etc

6. DH would love a big shed but thats a want not a must.

6. That everything is in working order no leaking toilets, a hot water system/ stove that works etc

Everything else im cruisey about the way I see it, its not my house I dont care if its old or dated or the paint is peeling. Its not my job to maintain the house ive just got to keep it clean and tidy and report and maintence issues to the real estate agent.

#8 Mitis angelam

Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:56 PM

Thanks for all the replies, this is very helpful.

QUOTE (Studybug @ 07/12/2012, 02:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So...hope I haven't scared you lol.

No, not at all.  For example, I was wondering whether ripping up the remaining (old) carpet and exposing the floorboards underneath was better than leaving the carpet there (can't see us being able to afford new carpet), so that's the kind of insight that's helpful.

#9 ~elle~

Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:15 PM

How important are BIR"s - we only have them in the master bedroom. I've been debating whether we should get them done now or later for the other bedrooms.

Edited by ~elle~, 07 December 2012 - 02:15 PM.

#10 Mitis angelam

Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:22 PM

QUOTE (~elle~ @ 07/12/2012, 03:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How important are BIR"s - we only have them in the master bedroom. I've been debating whether we should get them done now or later for the other bedrooms.

We had one put in the second bedroom, but the workmanship was shoddy on the doors and fixing it is one of the things on my list!

#11 missy78

Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:26 PM

Gas hot water system

#12 noonehere

Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:28 PM

Decent and working kitchen
Cupboard/storage space
No bloody verticals
Security screens
Secure grassed back yard
Patio area big enough for table and bbq
Well ventilated
Lots natural light
Light switches (single in the bedroom is very annoying, at least a double power point)
Easy care gardens.

#13 noonehere

Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:29 PM

Pretty much what you would want when you buy/own but with out much up keeo.

#14 Ice Queen

Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:30 PM

Low maintenace gardens or to have garden maintenance included.  As a non-garden lover the motivation to look after an impractical garden full of time consuming flowers is just not there, nor is the motivation to water large lawns without a decent watering system.  I am NOT standing outside on a35 degree night being bitten by mossies hand watering a lawn and garden (if I owned the house I would install a watering system).  Make it is as easy as possible for people to maintain the garden or include maintenacnce in the rent.  We have garden maintenance included in our current rental and it is AWESOME!  Win win for landlord and tenant.

The comfort that the rental options are long term.  I always question the PM's in detail about the owners and their reason for renting.  If it is 'oh the market is bad to sell so they are going to rent it out for a while' is a giant WALK AWAY sign.  You want quality tenants so make them feel comfortable that staying long term is an option.

Newish shower attachments for a good shower.

I actually look for slightly rubbish carpets  tongue.gif .  I have 2 small kids who WILL mark the carpets, the older the carpet the better IMO!  A new carpet would scare the bejesus out of me.

Aircon and heating.

Decent oven and cooktop but I love to cook.  Space in the kitchen.

Storage but it isnt a dealbreaker.

Safe parking for my car.

Decent curtains.

Basically rentals need to be practical.  The tenants cant really make additions so you need to make everything work and everything is there for comfortable living (not luxurious though).

#15 Mitis angelam

Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:34 PM

QUOTE (missy78 @ 07/12/2012, 03:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Gas hot water system

Would solar be as good/better?  That's what we've already put in.

#16 JJ

Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:41 PM

Realistically, most people won't be able to be picky because they'll desperately need a rental. wink.gif

Based on 6 years living in my current rental (very old house) these would be my main points:

- Roof in good shape - I put up with a leaky roof for nearly 5 years and even though nothing was ever damaged, it was a big PITA
- Good windows - lockable, keep out drafts, not rattly, fly screens if possible (many of mine don't have fly screens, it's a pain)... and as many PPs have already said, no vertical blinds
- Good ventilation - mould is a massive issue in many rentals (I ended up buying a dehumidifier to deal with it)
- Insulation (this place used to be like a fridge in winter. Got insulation a couple of years ago and the difference is huge)
- Bench space in the kitchen (this place has an extra custom-made bench and I'm so glad - I don't know how we would get on without it)
- Good fencing and gates that stay closed when you close them
- Low-maintenance garden/lawn
- Some built-in wardrobes, even if it's just a hall cupboard - I only have the hall cupboard but that's choc full of stuff!
- And last not but least, choose a good REA who doesn't treat tenants like crap and won't take weeks to notify you of necessary repairs etc.

ETA - solar panels are in no way a priority but I often think to myself how great it would be to have some, especially with power prices going up and up and up.

Edited by JJ, 07 December 2012 - 02:46 PM.

#17 spear_maiden

Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:44 PM

we had solar hot water (until it broke due to age arghh) and it was great.  Def mention it when advertising.  Our current LLs replaced it with an electric system, tho we preferred the solar sad.gif .

re the carpets - bare floors are better for us than old carpets due to allergies so I may be biased.  A wooden floor can be covered with rugs in winter.  Newly polished floors scare me (like new carpets scare PP) as we have a toddler.  I'd be happy to see bare wooden floors with no nails sticking out, or already scuffed polished floorboards.

#18 ElevenYears

Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:58 PM

In all my experience of renting, most rentals that cost less than the mortgage payments on the same place would are ghastly so renters come to expect that.

From prior negative experience, dealbreakers for me would be lack of flyscreens, an unventilated bathroom (for mould reasons), and severe lack of storage space.  I don't expect heaps, but a kitchen without a pantry, for example, just wouldn't work for us.

#19 Foogle

Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:07 PM

Thanks for posing this question Ange.  I was going to post pretty much the same question a few weeks back but hadn't gotten around to it.

We are about to go to market with a new IP and have been diligently working on reno's over the last 6-8 weeks or so and reading what is on PP's lists it seems we have ticked pretty much everyone's boxes.  The only box unchecked would be solar - we've put in gas.


#20 missy78

Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:21 PM

Solar would be more of a selling point, in my eyes!!i didn't think about that when I posted - I was just thinking about what we had a choice of last time we were looking.

#21 lynneyours

Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:36 PM

For DH and I with 2 children under 5:

* shower pressure must be good.  I would not rent a place with no water pressure.
* Security screen front door.
* enclosed backyard.
* storage - not fussed WHERE in the house it is - just that it is there.
* I prefer wood than carpet, as it is easier to keep clean and mop up spills and not as much worry.
* I prefer slightly older places which will let you put pictures up, or those peel off stickers on the kids wall
* clothes line or somewhere to string one.
* off-street parking
* quiet friendly neighbours

LIKE to have - but not essential:
* flyscreens on windows
* living area opening to backyard
* garage or shed
* built ins
* dishwasher
* separate toilet
* no halogen lights
* a front door lock that I must use a key to close/lock on the way out, so I cannot forget it.
* easy to maintain yard/garden
* HVAC or at least heating (in VIC) - I'd be as happy with a ceiling fan as air-con though.
* a landlord who fixes things immediately
* white walls - blank canvas and easy to repaint should treasures find the need to draw on them. rolleyes.gif

When we were child-free, it wasn't much different TBH - pretty much the same, only I wasn't worried about the floors and walls, other than the occasional red wine spill.  wink.gif

#22 Batmansunderpants

Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:45 PM

R/C aircon
Built ins
Good size linen press
Easy to maintain floors such as tiles
A bracket in the laundry to hang a dryer.
Fly screens
Low maintanence gardens/yard
Clothes line in sunny area
Screen doors
Exhaust fan in bathroom.
Lockable letterbox
Water heater big enough for a full bath or multiple showers (continuous over off peak, nothing worse then not being able to have 2 people shower in the morning)
No Lino, it is crap to vacuum.
Outdoor sensor lights.
Foxtel ready or approval to get foxtel installed (unless in a unit)
Shelves in garage for storage or lockable shed.
If vertical blinds installed, the type without chains as they break easily when exposed to sunlight. It's annoying worrying about them breaking at the slightest touch from a toddler and having to replace them.
Also having blind cords fitted with safety things to prevent children hanging. Not sure what they are called but they screw into the frame or are not looped at the bottom.

Edited by Miss Cookie, 07 December 2012 - 08:48 PM.

#23 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 10 December 2012 - 10:23 PM

QUOTE (Ange Vert @ 07/12/2012, 02:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Would solar be as good/better?  That's what we've already put in.

type of hot water system is not a deal breaker for me.  Just that the place has decent water pressure and hot water.

- bathroom in decent nic - it doesn't have to be new, just not in decay and no evidence of mould
- kitchen with plenty of storage, good amount of bench space & in decent nic
- light and airy feel to the place
- enough room to fit our furniture (not that we have a lot, but still, it's gotta fit)
- built-in wardrobes
- linen closet
- blinds/curtains on all windows
- reasonable laundry with good area for hanging clothes
- good ventilation, no damp or mould issues
- car port or garage (preferably attached to house)

- fly/security screens
- dishwasher
- fans/air con
- low maintenance yard
- deck/patio/outdoor entertaining area

Not concerned with what the floors are liked - we've lived with everything (tiles, floorboards, fake floorboards, carpet) and it makes no difference to us.  But I try to avoid white/pale carpets - just asking for trouble with that in a rental.  Very hard to keep them in pristine condition over a long period of time, particularly now that we have young kids.

Edited by YodaTheWrinkledOne, 10 December 2012 - 10:24 PM.

#24 Mitis angelam

Posted 29 December 2012 - 10:20 AM

Thanks for all the replies, they have been so helpful!  (Any further input would also be really welcome).

A follow up question...

I've noticed in the standards for rental accommodation that legally, "A landlord must provide locks to secure all external doors and windows of rental premise."  Does that mean that windows must have the kind of lock for which you need a key?  Because DH seems to think it just means they can be closed with a sort of latch from inside, and I don't know if that would meet our obligations?

#25 jayskette

Posted 29 December 2012 - 10:34 AM

OP that's very nice of you to even consider that.

Depending on the location of your house and how competitive the rental market is in your area, you can choose to do nothing at all or do a complete renovation. People do rent inner city dumps for more than the price of a McMansion in the suburbs.

I do believe that you will gain the most tax benefits if you do the renovations AFTER the property is being registered as a rental.

I personally look for location and convienence to amenities. If it is on a main road I want decent security and low noise eg shutter and double glazed windows. I would not want mould or damp problems, and relatively modern/functional appliances.

Edited to say - I value the relationship of the landlord and the RE agent more than anything. I have rented in dumps before but the landlord and RE agent fixed things immediately and considered our situation before increasing rent - that is more valuable than a sparkly new house.

Edited by jayskette, 29 December 2012 - 10:36 AM.

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