Elaine Smith has two rental properties that she lets out to paying tenants. Here she discusses her options and her decisions when it came to flooring them.
Q: What sorts of rental properties do you have?
A: I have two houses – one has four bedrooms, the other has three. They are both semi-detached and are let out to families. I bought the first one about five years ago. It worked really well so I bought another one a year and a half ago.
Q: What condition were the properties in when you bought them?
They had both been derelict and were then bought by a builder. He renovated them completely before I bought them. This was great as it meant there was very little work for me to do on them.
Q: Were you satisfied with the flooring he had put down in the houses?
A: Yes, very satisfied. He had laid the kind of flooring that I thought would be ideal for a house that was going to be let out to tenants. Nothing was so expensive that it would be difficult to replace it if it became damaged, yet it all looked very clean and neat.
Q: What kinds of flooring were there in the house?
A: The bathrooms and kitchens had Linoleum in them. This is good because it is warm underfoot and cannot be chipped as tiles can be. It is easy for the tenants to keep clean – and for me to clean between tenants.
Everywhere else there was Carpet. It wasn’t very expensive carpet. I decided from the beginning that I wouldn’t lay carpet that was very costly. I didn’t want to be worrying about it all the time.
The carpets are very plain. They look good and the tenants can put their own rugs on top of them.
Q: Have you had to replace any of the flooring at all?
A: Thinking about replacing them was another reason for not spending too much. If I felt the carpets or the lino were not in good enough condition for new tenants I knew I could replace them for just a couple of hundred pounds.
I think it’s important that the house is always in good condition when new tenants first arrive. So far, however, I haven’t had to replace any flooring myself. I think that’s one of the good things about having families in the properties rather than students. One family moved out of my three-bedroom house and into my four-bedroom house.
They’d had dogs in there and they felt the carpets had suffered as a result. When they left they actually laid new carpets in there for me, which was very nice of them. Luckily they chose something I would have chosen myself.
Q: Do you have any advice about flooring for new landlords or people thinking about letting out a property?
A: Yes. It is important to make sure the house looks clean and welcoming but don’t spend a huge amount of money on it.
Look for flooring that is cheap and cheerful, and that will take a certain amount of wear and tear. That way, if it does need to be replaced every so often, the job can be done easily and inexpensively.