When looking to buy a property with the intention of renting it out, there are numerous considerations to take into account before deciding on your potential investment.
Price, location and size are undoubtedly going to be at the top of the check list, with the condition of the property following closely behind.
However, unless you have your nose to the ground in the property market and can pounce on these elusive ‘dream rentals’ as soon as they come on the market, there is a high chance that you will need to compromise on at least one area, which in most cases is likely to be the condition of the property.
The majority of experienced landlords will have a grasp of the enormity of a renovation project, and can usually assess the financial implications of the job (including the loss of earnings during the renovation period) against the asking price.
Cosmetic changes rarely present a problem, as replacing shabby wallpaper with a fresh coat of magnolia will bring even the most dated room back to life, as will laying new flooring in place of dirty old carpets.
Kitchens and bathrooms can be a bit more of a problem if they require more than a little TLC, as a full refit can be pricey, however it will certainly be a worthwhile investment when it comes to securing a higher rental fee to reflect the recent modernisation.
One area, however, that often passes under the radar when assessing how much restoration a property will need is the staircase. In most homes, the staircase has been in place since the property was originally built, and aside from the odd lick of paint, will have received little or no maintenance over the years.
From a landlord’s point of view, this can be catastrophic, as staircases can present a hazard for trips and falls, not to mention more serious accidents if stair treads are rotten and unable to support weight.
Renovating a staircase can be a much bigger job than you may think, requiring specialist tools and more than an element of knowledge in the area.
With this in mind, experts in the woodworking trade share their tips and advice on restoring run down staircases, including when to cut to the chase and to replace it entirely.
Here are some of their top tips:
- Original spindles, moldings and newel posts are worth restoring if they are in good condition as these features will retain the character of the period that the property was built.
- Stripping back painted balustrades is an incredibly time consuming and fiddly job, which is best left to the professionals who have access to trade-strength paint removers.
- Be aware that some parts of the staircase are integral to its construction — consider the overall structure of the staircase before attempting to remove individual elements.
- If you attempt a DIY job and encounter problems, STOP! Any remedial work will become increasingly expensive the more there is to put right.
- Do not attempt to rectify structural problems. If treads, risers or strings are broken or rotten, call in the professionals. This is the point when it may be worthwhile ripping out the old staircase and starting again from a health and safety point of view.
- Whatever work you attempt to carry out, ensure that you are adhering to the latest UK building regulations.
As all respected landlords are aware, it is simply not worth ‘bodging’ maintenance tasks, particularly on integral fittings like staircases.
Cutting corners, especially on potential health and safety risks, is highly likely to cost considerably more in the long term, not least when the tenant’s wellbeing is at stake.