Why don’t we maintain our properties like we do our cars?
As a driver, you generally have your vehicle serviced annually as part of a maintenance schedule – so why don’t we do the same with our properties?
With a Preventative Planned Maintenance Schedule in place, you can! This report will typically let you know what maintenance, repair and redecoration work will be required to undertake during a 1, 5 or 10-year cycle and provides advice on costings. It can greatly assist with managing a single property or a portfolio, particularly where such maintenance costs can be recovered as part of a service charge, for both commercial and residential property. Being proactive in maintaining your property means there is less chance of major repairs which may come as a surprise, without funding in place to cover them.
When you hire a vehicle, you are obliged to return it in the same condition you received it and comply with the requirements of the hire contract.
This is very similar to leasing a commercial property, where a lease will be in place requiring you to keep the property in repair, good decorative condition and to yield it upon expiry. We find in some cases that tenants have not maintained the property to a high enough standard, leaving it to the end of the lease before inspection and falling short. In this instance, the landlord may then make a significant claim and the tenant will potentially be liable for these costs. Again, this can be limited by maintaining the property during the lease term, not necessarily to the requirements of the lease, but to minimise a potential claim at the end of the term.
As with owning a vehicle, it is essential to protect your investment against damage and loss.
This is no different to the ownership of a property, where you should have buildings insurance in place and ensure you are insured for the correct amount should the worst happen. Like a car, each time you insure it, you are generally asked what the vehicle is worth, in your opinion, and this also occurs in the process of insuring a property. The difference, however, is the value of a car will generally decrease, whereas the value of replacing a building will increase. If your property is not sufficiently insured, the insurer may reduce the claim by the percentage between the sum insured and the correct rebuild insurance assessment. It is recommended to periodically undertake a ‘desktop’ assessment, prior to renewal and then a full assessment every three years.
What’s the answer?
Our team of Chartered Building Surveyors at Fenn Wright are able to advise you with the above property matters and have expertise in the preparation of Preventative Planned Maintenance Schedules, advising upon Dilapidation Schedules and the provision of Insurance Reinstatement Assessments.