When your property is ready for its final touches then installing window coverings will often be the final task prior to marketing for new tenants. Window coverings complete a property and not only help make the property look modern but they also help give prospective tenants the perception of privacy, security and warmth. Let’s face it − property is a people business and perception is the key. You have done all the hard work in presenting the rest of your property, so some thought needs to go into window coverings. This article is aimed at assisting you to make the right choices.
All landlords should provide window coverings. Gone are the old days when some landlords let tenants provide their own coverings. If you don’t have them installed then tenants will rent elsewhere. We recommend that rental properties should have cost effective, durable, modern coverings that fit each window. The location of your property (and the prospective tenant market – you should know your market) will help determine what sort of blinds/curtains you install, but there are some good guidelines to follow.
We recommend that landlords with properties out West or South (where there is often more wear and tear than in the central city) stay away from venetian blinds made of aluminium slats which although look smart, are damaged easily. The blinds and cords can be damaged as tenants clean them, or careless tenants open the windows without lifting blinds (by reaching between the slats) or the wind can cause damage to the slats. Executive properties and apartments in central Auckland may be better suited to these blinds as the properties are often not subject to the same amount of wear and tear. Vertical fabric venetians have plastic beading that keeps the blinds together and these can break easily, so the same rule applies. The one good thing about all venetians is that they are easily serviced with many companies out there providing a maintenance service. Roll down sun shade blinds are great and have a modern, clean look and are very durable but are often the most expensive choice so exceed many landlords’ budgets.
Curtains and nets seem to be the most preferred covering in most rental properties. Bedrooms require both curtains and nets whereas lounges and dining rooms can often get away with just curtains. Kitchens, toilets and laundry’s can get away with nets only. Nets in wet areas should be trimmed high so they do not hang in the vicinity of taps etc. Nets should be white and you can purchase nets with built-in zipped cuts that allow you to trim the nets to the height of your windows. Nets should be hung on cords on the inside of the window frame but not attached to the glass. Curtains should be hung on rails on the top of the window frames so when closed they hide the nets. If you invest in new curtains make sure that they are hung correctly to maximise presentation and prolong the life of the curtain.
Nets provide additional privacy when curtains are open but also allow a small amount of sunlight to shine through which has obvious benefits to your rental property. More sunlight means less moisture which has a positive effect on tenant’s health and also increases the life of all of your chattels including carpets and paintwork. Curtains should be thermal backed to provide maximum insulation. You can increase the life of your nets/curtains and blinds by tenant education and improving insulation and air flow. For example tenants should be told to regularly open windows and encourage air flow. Property owners with moisture problems can reduce these problems by installing fans and air/heat transfer systems such as HRV (Home Ventilation System) products which circulate air around the home. This will help avoid mould growth and discoloured window coverings.
We suggest that you purchase neutral colours that don’t clash with tenant’s furniture and personalities – for example, don’t choose multi coloured rainbow or pink/orange curtains. White curtains mark easily so contemporary grey/brown colours are always a good option. Presentation can be maximised by having consistency in all rooms and not different colours in every room. If your children’s bedrooms have kiddie cartoon curtains it may be worth replacing with normal curtains to increase your potential tenant market. Your property may then appeal to a wider range of tenants such as professionals or students.