When should I think about redecorating and making improvements in my rental property?

As an experienced Letting Agency, Watt Property, aim to give as much advice to our landlords as we can on all matters relating to their rental properties.  Many of our clients have rented out their properties for a long period of time, be it to a long term tenant, or across many tenancies over a number of years.

The introduction of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme back in 2013 highlighted that property owners should expect a certain lifespan out of furniture, appliances and decoration within their properties and when we carry out our quarterly inspections we take time to consider this and advise our clients if we think something may be coming to the end of its life.

We have compiled below a table, prepared from our experience, to be used for guidance only purposes, in relation to what we consider fair in terms of wear and tear of a property. This will hopefully assist landlords budget when looking at how often they should be spending money on their rental properties to keep them not only at a marketable rent, but also well maintained and respected by the existing tenants.

Average Lifespan
Flooring & CarpetsDependent upon quality anything from 3 years to 10 years. We usually recommend a middle of the range carpet, which our current suppliers provide in many different colours and which also benefits from being hard wearing and bleachable so that spills and stains can be removed easily without damaging the quality or look of the carpet. A carpet such as this would likely last between 5-7 years if fitted well, with adequate underlay.

Laminate flooring is likely to wear quicker, particularly in high volume areas such as halls and kitchens, where spillages are more likely.  Again  a high quality and well fitted laminate floor will last longer than a basic end product.

White Goods;
Small electrical goods;

Microwaves, toasters, kettles etc.

Average 2-3 years depending on volume of use

i.e. a family of 4 will use these items to a higher volume than a single person working full time.

Washing MachineAverage 5-7 years, again this would depend on usage and quality of appliance.
Ovens/hobs/cookersAverage 6-8 years
Fridges & Freezers, including combined unitsAverage 5-7 years, it is quite common for fittings within these appliances to break during the lifespan, but if a popular brand is purchased these parts are usually easy to source replacements for and the cost can, in some cases, be recovered from the tenant, or their deposit.
Furniture;
Sofas & Armchairs5-7 years, again this depends on how many tenants and the quality of product.
Wardrobes, tables, dining tables, drawer units etc.7-9 years if of good quality
Beds (frames or divans)7-9 years
Mattresses7-8 years
Decorations;

(interior walls, woodwork & ceilings)

When considering redecoration landlords should take into account the number of tenants living in the property along with children and pets.  A family of 4 with 2 dogs will have a much higher wear and tear rate than a professional couple with no children or pets.  Our suggestions are based on a tenancy with 2 professionals and no children or pets residing there.
Social Space;

i.e. lounge, kitchen, hallways, bathrooms

These areas generally have a higher wear and tear rate due to the high volume of traffic from residents and guests.

3-4 years

Dining rooms5-6 years
Bedrooms4-5 years
Low usage rooms (conservatories, studies, box rooms)5-6 years

Disclaimer; The above are indications based on our experience and are provided for guidance only.  Individual circumstances should always be taken into account.