The Communication Agency

Property maintenance costs surprising

In any given month, around 60% of rental properties don't require any general maintenance according to a new analysis of Barfoot & Thompson’s rental database of over 14,000 properties in Auckland.

The analysis looked at over 60,000 transactions in 2016, which included everything from new smoke alarms and leaky taps, to gutter cleaning and pest control.

When looking at costs across the subset of properties that required general maintenance (around 60% of properties each month), the average was around $300 per month. When averaged across all properties, the cost of maintenance each month was $82, with houses costing the most at $90, and apartments the least at $61. Units, flats, and townhouses averaged $67, $79 and $77 per month, respectively.

Generally individual maintenance job costs ranged from around $10 (installing a smoke alarm) to around $2000 (replacing a hot water cylinder).

“Maintaining a rental property doesn’t cost as much as many people think. Over a year, across all properties the average is $978, a little higher for houses and lower for apartments. Bigger jobs such as repainting tend to be infrequent so they average out over time and landlords may choose to take on some larger jobs themselves,” says Barfoot & Thompson Director Kiri Barfoot.

Throughout the year, there are two peak periods for maintenance – March and August.

“Maintenance is often prompted when new tenants move into a property. This month has been busy – the bulk of University students move into their properties in March,” says Ms Barfoot.

“We also see a rise in maintenance over Winter, peaking in August. Wild weather and more time spent indoors results in a bit more wear and tear than in other months.

“Replacement locks, leaky taps and toilets, broken door handles, and installing new smoke alarms are the most frequent jobs we take care of. Whatever the job, general maintenance is important to keep properties presentable, functional and comfortable for tenants.

“In our experience, landlords find maintenance time consuming. The time required is not necessarily proportionate to the size or cost of the job. Landlords must coordinate what needs to be done with the tenants and tradespeople, or find time to do it themselves as well as source the parts and equipment.

“This is an advantage of having a property manager. They take care of all these things quickly and keeping on top of it helps retain good tenants. Tenants in a well looked after home are also more likely to treat the property with care.”


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