Why It Is Important To Upgrade And Maintain Your External Buildings

While it is important to carry out ongoing maintenance throughout the year, the arrival of summer is an ideal time to address any problems you might have with the exterior aspects of properties you manage, let and are responsible for.

From communal stores and bike racks to broken fences or garage doors, the outdoor features of properties tend to look more weather-beaten and neglected following the colder months. The warmer weather is the ideal time to prioritise routine management checks that have run over from winter and carry out significant repairs that require immediate attention. All your maintenance efforts will go a long way in ensuring the safety, security and overall presentation of your properties.

Putting in the time, money and work into fixing external areas of your property can have long-term benefits too as neglecting responsibilities might spell additional, and potentially costly, problems later on. Dry weather and longer days also mean greater opportunities to work outside on your building’s exteriors and access any awkward areas easily (and more safely).

This article looks at why it is important to address essential and non-essential external repairs on any properties you’re responsible for maintaining.

Maintain security and compliance

One of the most critical aspects of managing communal, residential and multi-occupancy buildings is ensuring the security of the people who live there. This applies to all buildings and to any additional outbuildings, such as bike storage sheds, greenhouses, garages and sheds which can be vulnerable to potential security threats.

Everyone wants to feel safe in the comfort of their home; landlords and property managers have a responsibility to ensure their occupants are kept safe. Leaving a property in disrepair, neglecting front doors, communal areas or garage doors is not a good look if you want to attract tenants and reassure them. Make time to inspect all the main entry/exit points in the property and upgrade garages to have automatic doors, if necessary, or install other modern designs.

In communal buildings and shared properties especially, looking after the locks on all your doors and windows is crucial because they are the property’s first line of defence against potential intruders. Outdated or faulty locks not only compromise the safety of residents but can also lead to costly repairs or replacements in the event of a break-in. It's essential to have a professional locksmith regularly inspect and maintain your locks, ensuring they are functioning correctly and meet the latest security standards. High-quality, tamper-resistant locks can provide an added layer of protection, deterring would-be criminals and giving residents peace of mind.

Exterior buildings are also vulnerable to potential security threats. These features are often used to store valuable items making them attractive targets for opportunistic thieves. By investing in robust security measures, such as heavy-duty locks, alarms and lighting, you can significantly reduce the risk of theft and vandalism.

Prioritise a property’s appearance

It is important to look after all the exterior walls, window sills, roofs and every outside feature of buildings you manage or rent as a property landlord, concierge or estate agent. In addition to making residents feel better, there are external building standards that legally you must uphold to care for the overall structure and condition of a property.

It is common sense to stay on top of any of any routine tasks, such as rebuilding a fence, painting splintered woodwork on doors or window surrounds and replacing a broken garage door that can’t be used any more. Not only do you want to attract occupants, you want to keep them comfortable and happy.

In addition, having great kerb appeal is valuable, so it’s important not to sacrifice the appearance of property due to missed maintenance jobs. Arguably, paying more attention to the exterior presentation is more significant in blocks of flats, from the street view outside and the prospective resident’s perspective. Well-maintained exteriors not only create a positive first impression for visitors and potential tenants but can also contribute to the overall value of properties.

Simple tasks such as pressure washing paths, repainting faded surfaces on shed doors/roofs and fixing any cracked or damaged driveways can breathe new life into tired-looking exteriors. Investing in attractive landscaping and lighting can also enhance the overall look of your properties, making them more appealing to residents and visitors alike. Regular maintenance, such as trimming overgrown hedges and clearing debris, can also help to create a more inviting environment for residents.

Be proactive with ongoing maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to ensuring the longevity of your external buildings. By addressing issues promptly, you can prevent minor problems from escalating into more significant and expensive repairs down the line. For example, neglecting to repair a leaky roof or address moisture issues can lead to structural damage, mould growth and potentially hazardous living conditions for residents. Similarly, failing to maintain landscaping and drainage systems can result in flooding, erosion and other costly issues.

By implementing a proactive maintenance schedule, you can stay ahead of potential problems, have extra time to focus on more important issues. It is also cost effective to invest in the maintenance and upgrades of your property’s exterior features, with benefits including:

  • Safeguarding your property’s value: Well-maintained and secure properties are more attractive to potential buyers and tenants, which can lead to higher property values and rental rates. You can maximise the return on your investment and increase the overall value of your portfolio.
  • Compliance with regulations: Failing to maintain external buildings can lead to violations of local building regulations and safety rules, potentially resulting in fines or legal issues. By staying on top of maintenance and upgrades, you can ensure compliance and avoid costly penalties and disputes.
  • Reduced repairs: By addressing issues promptly and investing in high-quality materials and workmanship, you can extend the lifespan of your external buildings and minimise unexpected repair expenses.
  • Improved tenant satisfaction: Residents appreciate living in well-maintained, secure, and visually appealing properties.
  • Enhanced reputation: If you take pride in maintaining properties, you’ll earn a reputation for quality and reliability to attract new tenants and help you stand out in a competitive market.

While the benefits of maintaining and upgrading external buildings are clear, neglecting outdoor spaces can be detrimental. Proactive maintenance is key coupled with the knowledge of managing different types of properties. With management assistance, you can help to minimise problems, prevent potential safety breaches and ward off costly repairs.

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By Dakota Murphey
15th May 2024

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