Bathroom renovations in rental properties

Bathroom renovations in rental properties

A clever bathroom renovation in your investment property will attract more applicants and will justify a higher rent. The trick is to make the renovation cost effective and durable to withstand wear and tear.

There are two common mistakes landlords make when renovating a rental bathroom. They either over or under capitalise. Do not treat it as a‘dream bathroom’. And you are not competing on The Block either. Unless you plan to live in the property yourself one day, you need to aim for functionality not luxury.  At the other end of the spectrum are the landlords who do things on the cheap. Flimsy tapware,and a cheap vanity are going to get damaged and will age quickly. They are a false economy.

Tips for your rental bathroom renovation

Shower Screens

Avoid sliding screens if possible. A single rimless screen is easier to keep clean and there are no moving parts to break.

Bath

Though removing a bathtub is a good way to increase floor-space, it may limit the market for your property. Tenants with children are likely to require a bathtub.

If the existing bathtub is undamaged,have it resprayed rather than replaced. Unless it is in exceptional condition, don’t leave it untouched. Once the bathroom is updated, a tired looking bathtub will spoil the whole job.

Tapware

Don’t buy cheap taps, they just don’t last the distance. Avoid fashion trends here too–coloured taps will date whereas chrome will never go out of fashion.

Vanity

If possible, consider installing a wall mounted vanity unit. Keeping it off the floor will make cleaning the bathroom easier and will avoid water damage to the base of the vanity which can easily occur. This will extend the life of the unit.

Tenants will appreciate a vanity with good storage. One that has draws and cupboards. Install the biggest mirror you can fit to enhance the sense of light and space. Make sure the edges are sealed to prevent moisture damage.

Tiles

Choose large plain tiles for any areas that require tiling. Bigger tiles mean less grout which means less chance for mould. Again, making the bathroom easier to clean.

White is a good colour for walls. A muted neutral tone is the best for floors.

Use grout that is a close match to the colour of the tile. This will make the room look bigger.

Exhaust Fan

An exhaust fan is essential to reduce moisture. Have the fan run off the light switch so it is used whenever the light is turned on. A fan on a separate switch is not likely to be ever turned on. Tenants think they are saving power–they don’t care about moisture damaging your bathroom.

Include a laundry

If the building layout allows, consider including the laundry in the bathroom. There are clever designs for laundries in cupboards. By doing this, you maybe able to convert the existing laundry room into another usable space. Or perhaps convert the laundry into an extra bathroom.

Timing the renovation

Obviously, if the property has only one bathroom, you are going to have to time the renovation for the end of the lease or pay for alternative accommodation for your tenants during the renovation.

Be careful of this situation though. Tenants may not be very happy about having tradies in the home when they are not there. Be sure to advise the tenants in writing about the arrangements and stress the importance of not leaving valuables in the property during the renovation.  This is in no way a criticism of tradies.  Tenants are notoriously paranoid about their security.

Updating the Entry Condition Report

If you renovate the bathroom during a lease, be sure to update your  Entry Condition Report. The easiest way to do this is to complete the bathroom section again,have the tenant sign and date it and give them a copy. Make it clear in the correspondence that the new report supersedes the original information about the bathroom.

Related blog posts:

Things tenants will pay more for

Carpets or tiles/curtains or blinds

Look after your investment with a maintenance schedule

Diane Bukowski
cloud@eezirent.com.au

When I first started my company eezirent I wrote a small online newsletter for private landlords in Australia. It explored the common problems landlords encounter when self-managing. This simple publication has now grown into Honest Broker.

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