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Landlords are often confronted with the dilemma of whether to paint or repaint the outside of their residential investment property. This can be on aesthetic grounds to make their property more attractive for letting or for structural reasons because the outside bricks have started to ‘blow out’ and the non porous face of the bricks surface is compromised and no longer prevents moisture seeping into the brick.

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This process of water ingress over time can result in damp occurring inside their buy-to-let property. In these situations a landlord has the option of either replacing the damaged bricks or to apply a water repellent barrier such as paint to reduce the moisture up take by the brick.

Can I paint my investment property?

Some landlords with buy-to-let property may not be able to paint their investment property without first obtaining permission. If a landlord owns a listed building or one that is within a Conservation Area then they may require consent from their local planning authority before being able to ‘lift a paint brush in anger’. Therefore before starting down this road then it is always worth a landlord making enquiries with their local planning authority.

Where do professional landlords go for their buy-to-let insurance?

Once a landlord has ascertained whether they can paint their property, the next question is should they? Some landlords resort to painting the outside of their property because it seems a cheap and easy solution to what appears an expensive and daunting prospect of having to chop out and replace literally hundreds if not thousands of bricks in order to deal with the problem adequately. Not only is the process messy and time consuming it is also potentially very expensive. The builder will have to chop out each individual brick, clean them up or replace them. The Property Makeover and Price guide published by the Royal Institute of Charetered Surveyors (RICS) quotes a figure of £12 per brick at low level and £14 a brick for high level bricks to replace 10 or more bricks. A landlord can save money by getting the builder to re-use them and swap over the faces of the original brick to show the inside face.

Want to know what Rigsby our newest blogger thinks

The aesthetics of painting the outside of your buy-to-let property

The other factor that a landlord will have to evaluate in deciding whether to go down the painting route is the aesthetics. I have witnessed all too often landlords and homeowners that think by slapping on a quick coat of paint onto the outside of a Victorian brick property will give it a quick spruce up. The reality is that often the work will detract from the look of the investment property and this can have a significantly detrimental impact on the value of their investment. Whilst painting is not quite so value destroying as stone cladding was in the 60s and 70s, the effect, particularly when the paintwork deteriorates as it can be equally as detrimental to their investment appeal and the properties price in the owner occupier market.

Painted property opportunities

The flipside of residential property which has been poorly painted is that these unattractive properties can often be picked up by landlords at a discount to more authentic and attractive properties in the same location. Once bought it is relatively cheap and inexpensive for the landlord to employ a contractor to give the property a jet or power wash. The result should be a shiny brick property and hopefully a net uplift in the properties value.

Landlords – where next?

Having decided that as a landlord that you don’t need consent & that you can paint your investment property, that it makes good investment sense to do so, the next question is what are the technical considerations of getting it done. This is something we look into in part two next week. I know you can’t wait but in the meantime see what our new blogger Rigsby thinks about the subject, you won’t catch him sitting on the fence!

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