If your Suffolk rental property doesn’t already have a fence, you might be unsure if you should have one put in. Or possibly your tenant has asked for permission to build a fence on the property. Either way, you’re faced with two serious questions: does your rental need a fence, and if yes, who will install it? The first step to making a smart decision is to figure out both the pros and cons of a fence for your rental property.
There are many advantages to fencing a rental property, but maybe the most significant reason you might consider doing so is that your ideal tenant likes a fence. Depending on the neighborhood and your renter demographic, a fenced rental property could greatly build up its marketability.
In the single-family rental home market, you must know what type of tenant you want to rent to and create a property that will best appeal to that group. This will double if you’re looking for ways to widen your tenant base. If you’re intending to find a unique kind of tenant in the door, adding a fence to your rental property could be the solution. Tenants with families or pets are generally those who will be more likely to select a rental home with a fence over one without.
In some situations, having a fence to a rental property in some areas doesn’t make sense at all. Fences can be a costly improvement project; that is why it needs to be taken seriously. Some tenants do not want a fence, while others consider them a barrier that blocks their views.
Furthermore, in some neighborhoods, municipalities or owner’s associations have strict regulations about what type of fencing materials are allowed or even if you can have a fence on the property at all. If constructing a fence doesn’t make sense for your area, tenant demographic, or budget, there doesn’t seem to be much reason to do so.
But what if your current tenant has asked for a fence? Once you get such a request, it’s important to take it seriously. This is especially true if your tenant is a responsible long-term tenant, and you want to keep strong relations with them. Building a fence for a tenant isn’t as uncommon as it may sound at first. Ultimately, a fence is a property improvement that will most likely add to your property’s value. You can also often use a new fence as a tax write-off, which might be helpful.
If there are real struggles in accomplishing their request, whether because the HOA prohibits fences or there are strict zoning laws, it’s important to communicate those reasons clearly with your tenant. Simply telling them no may make them feel hurt or resentful and might even cause them to find a way and build a fence themselves – possibly without your permission and without obtaining the necessary permits or approvals first.
However, sometimes allowing a tenant to build a fence on the property may be an excellent offer. This is especially true if you know your tenant can do the job accurately and if they offer to pay for the materials. If both of these things are true, you may feel confident in allowing a tenant to continue with the project.
On the other hand, there are a few possible negative things with trusting your tenant with such a major property improvement. If your tenant builds a fence, you don’t have a chance to know what materials they choose to use and the construction quality. If your tenant installs a fence using cheap or flimsy materials or doesn’t do a good job, your property could quickly become a neighborhood problem. A horrible or poorly built fence may have a huge negative effect on not only your property’s curb appeal but your property values as well.
Because fences often sit on property lines, there is also the possibility that your tenant will damage the nearest properties, injure themselves, or cause a quarrel with the neighbors. People living nearby may not want a fence so close to their property and may object to having one built.
There are also buried gas lines, water lines, and other utilities to avoid. If your tenant accidentally breaks a gas or water line, you could end up not only with mad neighbors but an expensive repair bill from the city as well. The same is true if your tenant somehow ends up hurting him or herself or others. Not only might you be responsible for paying hospital bills, but you might also wind up the victim of an expensive lawsuit as well.
Do you have questions about which upgrades and improvements are right for your rental property? Give Real Property Management Hampton Roads a call at 757-395-4274! We can help you maximize your rental property’s curb appeal without blowing your budget.
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