Preparations to Make Before Renovating a Rental Property

Landlords who have never undertaken renovations for their respective properties are likely to experience confusion when the time comes to renovate. While it’s true that major renovations can present a number of challenges, a little bit of effort can ensure that you’re able to overcome them with aplomb. Provided you attend to all of the necessary prep work, you may be surprised by how smoothly rental property renovations can go.

Make Sure the Proper Permits Are in Place

Before proceeding with any work, it’s imperative that you obtain the proper permits. Failure to do so can result in steep fines and other legal penalties. In addition, you may also be forced to undo any work that’s already been completed.

So, in advance of beginning your renovations, sit down with your contractors and discuss any permits this job will require. Fortunately, licensed contractors are able to pull a wide assortment of permits, so provided you hire people who are highly skilled and have a meticulous attention to detail, making sure all the necessary permits are in place shouldn’t be a problem. Pulling the proper permits is particularly important in municipalities in which high-quality planning and zoning software is utilized.

Hire the Right Contractors

As anyone who’s undertaken rental property renovations can attest, the contractors you select are liable to have a considerable impact on how smoothly things go. Whereas dependable contractors have little trouble completing jobs on time and on budget, unreliable contractors can turn even the simplest, most straightforward renovations into costly, drawn-out nightmares.

That being the case, it’s in your best interest to be selective when weighing your options. To start with, you’ll want to hire someone who’s properly licensed, certified or registered to work as a contractor in your jurisdiction. Secondly, take care to confirm that any contractor you hire is covered under general liability, professional liability, worker’s compensation, inland marine and commercial auto insurance. This can effectively prevent you from having to pay for any property damage or medical costs that spring up while a contractor is in your employ. Thirdly, make sure that the contractors you hire are well-versed in the type of renovations you’re looking to make. Lastly, take some time to peruse online reviews for any contractors you’re thinking of hiring.

Provide Tenants with Advanced Notice

If the renovations you’ll be undertaking stand to inconvenience any of your tenants, it’s imperative that you provide them with as much advance notice as possible. Knowing that renovations are forthcoming will ensure that renters are able to plan for alterations to their respective daily routines accordingly. For example, if renovations are taking place in laundry rooms, parking areas or other heavily-used parts of the property, tenants are practically guaranteed to be impacted.

You should also provide tenants with accurate timetables for any renovations that are taking place and give them regular progress updates. After all, they deserve to know how long they can expect their routines to be shaken up. Furthermore, if you’re interested in making tenants more amenable to renovations, consider offering them a slight decrease in rent for the duration of the work.

Prioritize Tenant Safety

Both active and inactive work areas can pose safety risks to tenants. For instance, if a tenant were to wander into a work area and incur any injuries, you’re going to have a bad situation on your hands. The more dangerous the work area, the more important it is to prioritize renter safety.

So, before giving your contractors the green light to commence work, make sure you’re aware of how large – and how perilous – their work area is going to be. Next, confirm that they will make the area inaccessible to tenants and secure their tools when they’re not present. Such precautions are particularly important for rentals where residents allow their children to freely wander the property.

It’s easy to see why undertaking rental property renovations would strike first-time landlords as daunting. After all, a rental property is a large investment, and renovations that are improperly carried out stand to decrease its value and inconvenience tenants. Although such concerns are certainly valid, renovating a rental property doesn’t have to be a relentlessly stressful experience, especially if the proper preparations are in place. So, before commencing work, all landlords should attend to the prep work discussed above.