The short-term rental market in London is thriving. Reports reveal that there are more than 75,000 Airbnb listings in the city by March 2023, with 61% being entire homes for rent. Not only that, short-term leases are getting longer with guests choosing to book 7.9 nights on average – which is an improvement from the 4.8 nights average before the pandemic hit.
This tells you two things. The market is still quite competitive and guests are choosing to stay longer per booking. If you want to improve your rental property’s occupancy rates, you have to make sure your property is well-maintained so guests will choose to book it over other short-lets in the area.
One of the strategies that you can use to improve occupancy rates is to make your property physically appealing. It’s not just about making it visually attractive. It’s about making sure it maintains its structural integrity. The best way to do that is through proper maintenance practices.
In this article, you’ll understand why property care is important and what you should do in between bookings so short-term rentals are well-maintained. You’ll get tips to improve your unit so it’s primed and ready for the next guest.
Importance of Property Care
Maintaining your rental property goes beyond making it look aesthetically pleasing. It’s about protecting your investment so you can get maximum ROI. By conducting maintenance efforts in between bookings, you can sustain the value of the property by taking care of wear and tear issues before they become a costly problem.
Keeping the flat in pristine condition will also help you secure a good review on the property. It increases occupancy rates because positive reviews encourage more people to book a stay. With the numerous rental properties available in London, you have to step up and make sure that guests will choose your flat over others. While getting professional photos and a virtual tour will help, getting several 5-star reviews can seal the deal.
How can property maintenance help with this? A well-maintained property is the key to impress your guests. Damages and malfunctioning appliances and equipment can be a huge turnoff. It can influence the overall experience of your guests and their perception of your flat.
This is why it’s vital to check your property in between bookings. The time in between guests is perfect for conducting a routine maintenance check to keep your property resilient and compliant with rental laws and regulations. You can also take the time to determine if the guest damaged anything during their stay – so you can charge them appropriately.
Non-negotiables When Preparing Rentals for the Next Guest
The length of the vacancy period between guests varies. Sometimes, you only have a few days between bookings. Other times, you have weeks before the next guest arrives. Regardless of how long you have before the next schedule, there are a couple of non-negotiables when you maintain properties after a guest checks out.
First of all, you need to check the batteries of your safety devices like the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Make sure they’re working properly to stay compliant. While you’re at it, make sure all the light fixtures are working as well.
Security is also an important consideration so check the locks, doors, and windows to make sure the guest is safe during their stay. Other things that you need to check are the plumbing, heating and air conditioning. These are crucial to ensure that guests have a pleasant and comfortable stay.
Cleaning the property is also a must. It doesn’t always have to be a deep clean but at the very least, you need to clean every room in your unit. The deep cleaning can happen every 4 to 6 months. Before that, you just have to change the bed sheets, towels, linens, pillowcases, etc. Clean all the rooms in the unit by dusting and wiping surfaces. Sweep, mop and vacuum the floor, too. Make sure you clean each room in a way that suits how it was used – you’ll get a rundown of this later on in the article.
If you’re pressed for time because the next guest is coming, these are the non-negotiables that you should complete.
Once you are done, take a photo of the property. You want to keep this in a file so you have evidence of what the flat looked like before the guest came in. Use the photos to check the property for damages after the guest checks out. This can be very useful in case of disputes.
Tips to Maintain Properties Between Bookings
In case you have more time in between bookings, you can go beyond the non-negotiables. Here are tips that reputable property management agents and companies do to maintain rental units before the next guest checks in.
This should be a part of the checkout process. Ideally, someone has to inspect the property immediately after the guest checks out of the unit. If the guest is still there, conduct a quick scan of the unit to look for obvious damages. But if the guest is in a hurry, don’t worry. The photo that you took before the guest checked in will help you compare the condition of the flat before and after.
Don’t mind the mess because you’ll have to get the flat cleaned anyway. Just focus on what needs to be repaired so the charges can be applied accordingly. Write a list so you can arrange to have damages fixed in time for the next booking schedule. Don’t forget to inform the guest about anything that’ll be charged to them.
Whatever is on the list should be repaired as soon as possible. Plan this carefully so you can fix as much as you can before the next guests checks in. Prioritise plumbing and heating issues to ensure that water leaks.
Conducting preventive maintenance is the best way to keep your property in great condition. Water damage can compromise the structural integrity of the property in a small amount of time. This has to be dealt with immediately. The heating, on the other hand, will play a big role in the comfort of your next guest.
Clean per room
Once you’ve dealt with the repairs, it’s time to do a thorough cleaning of every room.
- Bedroom and living room. These require some dusting, sweeping, vacuuming or mopping. Wipe the wardrobe and leave the door open so it air dries. Change the bedsheets, pillowcases and other linens so guests can appreciate the feel of clean linens when they sleep. Wipe the decorations, frames, light fixtures, shelves and table tops.
- Kitchen and dining. Check all the equipment to see if they’re all working. This includes the oven, stove, coffee maker, etc. Clean the burners and stove top to remove any grease left behind by the last guest as well as the sink, garbage disposal and dishwasher. Use baking soda and white vinegar for a thorough clean. Inspect the fridge and make sure there’s nothing left inside. If it needs defrosting, this is the perfect time to do it. Wipe the rubber seals inside the fridge. Clean the countertops and dining table to remove stains and check for scratches. Check the cookware and dinnerware to see if anything is missing.
- Bathroom. Scrub the whole bathroom to remove any dirt, stain, scum, etc from the walls and door. Focus on the sink, bathtub, shower and toilet. Pay attention to the grout and give it a good scrub as well. Remove any hair from the drain and replace the shampoo, soap, etc. Wipe the mirror until it’s shiny and check for any leaks. Use a sealant to prevent water damage.
Give hallways, windows, doors and common areas some attention as well. If you don’t have time to do all these, there are cleaning services that you can work with. Or, you can partner with a property management company like City Relay that offers cleaning and maintenance as part of their service.
After you’ve dealt with the indoors, it’s time to inspect the outdoor area. This includes the balcony and gardens that your unit may have. Clean the area and give plants and flowers some care. Ideally, you should put only low-maintenance plants on your property to ensure that they won’t die on your guests. If you don’t have a green thumb, hire someone to do it. Trim bushes and branches of nearby trees – if you have time before the guest checks in. Clear the walkways of any debris to avoid accidents.
You should also check the windows and doors to make sure there are no drafts. Make sure the integrity of the locks isn’t compromised.
Update and improve
At this point, your rental property is ready to receive the next guest. But before they arrive, do some finishing touches. See if you can update the decor. If you have weeks in between guests, you might want to paint the walls to give your unit a fresh new look. Sometimes, a good paint job is all you need to be able to raise the rental price.
If you have the budget for it, you might also want to get energy-efficient alternatives to light fixtures, appliances and equipment. This will help make your unit more sustainable and eco-friendly.
Keep Properties in Good Condition to Improve Its Value
Property care is one of the most important responsibilities of landlords. Being proactive with the repairs and maintenance of the unit will ensure that upkeep costs will be minimal. It also helps sustain the premium quality of the property regardless of how many guests occupy it at one time.
As a landlord, you should consider property care as an investment. A well-maintained property leads to a positive experience for guests, leading to 5-star reviews. This can transform your rental unit into a sought-after destination that’ll bring growth to your portfolio.
Admittedly, the high turnover rate of short-term rentals makes property care a tedious task for landlords. But if you partner with the right property management company, this won’t be a problem for you.
City Relay is a trustworthy property management company that offers cleaning and maintenance services. They’ll automatically clean and maintain your rental property in between guests – even without you prompting it. This is on top of their other services that include marketing the property, taking care of guest concerns and collecting rent. This leaves you to enjoy a steady flow of rental income without any stress.
If you want to know more about property care and short-term letting, get in touch with us. We can discuss how we can maximise your rental income and maintain the premium condition of your rental unit.