Renting to tenants with small Children

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Renting to tenants with small Children

What a contentious subject…

 …it is a pleasant experience for us to rent to a young family. The joy of calling them to let them know they have been approved for a new property and a landlord thinking about stability and long term tenants.

In the day-to-day reality of renting your investment property to a young family however… is it really all the positives it appears to be??

Some owners are a little turned off by young children and I myself having a young child can understand why. Crayon marks on the floor, ice-cream and spilt drinks or food on the carpet, the list goes on and these are all valid concerns for a landlord.

I heard a great story just the other day of a toddler cutting the 10-foot vertical blinds in half with a pair of scissors. I myself have had carpet stained from crayon and my little one creating artworks on the carpet with nappy cream!

So the question is: Do all investment property owners steer clear of young families?  My answer is that some do (and others don’t). 

There is no magic solution to illuminating all potential semi-permanent / permanent damage from your investment property. Keep in mind that maintenance repairs are tax deductions and also you can make some alterations to make your property as robust as possible.

For example placing rugs down to protect carpeted areas or replace carpets with hard surface flooring that can be easily cleaned or at least select carpet that is heavy-wear friendly and perhaps woollen as this is more durable – especially for cleaning. Next time you are doing the interior painting – choose a paint that is ‘wash and wear’ friendly assist in easier cleaning of marks and scuffs.

Another important tip I like to tell our landlords with ‘family style investment properties’ is don’t invest in manicured and expensive landscaped yards! This is a futile exercise and an unnecessary expense. Quite often the plants can be damaged by young inquisitive children and parents are often time-poor and don’t have time to maintain them.

I suggest going for practical and neat gardens that require minimal maintenance and are functional (providing good play areas) but not too vulnerable to damage by young children.

There are positives of having a young family rent your property. These do include stability of longer term tenants. Young children can actually be less damaging to your property than teenage young adults that are bigger, stronger and especially when they are having ‘parties’ can be a larger risk for not only damage but disturbances to the neighbourhood. There is also a high percentage of young families looking to rent as they may not yet be able to afford purchasing their own home (especially if they are living on one income during the early child-rearing years).

From the tenant’s perspective, our advice is to ensure your young children are well behaved at the inspection or leave them at home. To minimise risk of losing your bond, think about putting down rugs to protect the carpet or rent a home without carpet altogether.

Most children are past this inquisitive yet destructive stage by the age of 5 or so and things settled down, but they are all considerations for the landlord just as having a family with teenagers or young adults is also a consideration.

I welcome your thoughts and/or experiences on this – feel free to comment here or on our

facebook page.

Tennille