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What can devalue your rental property?


Getting the full market rent for your property should be simplicity itself because there are loads of people who need to rent a place in London, right? Well, the demand is certainly high, but with greater choice available, there are some obvious things that can devalue a property and make potential tenants and buyers run for the hills.

One thing that has changed in the last year is that, owing to the pandemic, more people are working from home and are searching for accommodation that can be adapted into daily workspace. Landlords that go the extra mile in order to keep up with this tenants trend will definitely put themselves at an advantage when looking for a faster rental.

So, if you are hoping to attract a high-budget tenant or you want to achieve the optimum sale price, here are some things to consider so you don’t devalue your property:

First impressions count


When property agents talk of “kerb appeal”, they are referring to a study by Barclays which reveals that it takes prospective buyers and renters just 10 seconds to decide whether they like a property or not, just by viewing the exterior. Incredibly, you could lose a tenant by failing to clear litter from the front door or communal area, neglecting old paintwork or simply by leaving bins in an untidy state. Just because these issues are easy and cheap to rectify, doesn’t mean that they should be disregarded.

Fighting grime

Having your property professionally cleaned in between tenancies is a must. If prospective tenants can’t even bring themselves to touch anything in a property, they surely won’t be keen to pay for the privilege of living there.


Most people will probably accept the fact that they may not be the first tenants to occupy a property but traces of past occupation may include cooking, smoking and pet smells which can seep through even the best air fresheners. Again, a full professional clean is the best way forward as artificial smells tend to highlight the problems they are meant to disguise.

Colour is not always blind

One person’s artistic statement may be someone else’s eyesore. You may feel that bold colours and patterns reveal your own individuality, but tenants need to feel at home and not as if they are intruding on an art experiment. Interior décor is highly subjective, so it’s best to keep it simple. An accent wall in a different yet neutral colour will ensure that the property catches the eye in all the right ways. Creating a mood of high-end luxury is often about restraint and the positioning of a few well-chosen furnishings can make all the difference.


If you are looking to sell your property, investing in a professional home-staging service will show how simple touches can make the property feel homely while also demonstrating the best use of space and storage and showing the property off at its best. Mortgage provider ING Direct recently gave the example of a messy child’s bedroom causing a £8,000 deduction off an asking price in a house sale!

DIY disasters

Tenants in London expect maintenance and improvements to be carried out by a professional, so do-it-yourself experiments should be avoided. Installing double glazed PVC windows in a period property or converting a cupboard into a cramped extra bedroom are just two examples of over-zealous home improvements that can be a complete turn off and devalue its worth.

Stay connected

Nowadays, it’s very rare in London to be far from good transport connections, but tenants still like to compare commuter journey times and network reliability. Providing an information pack covering local bus, Tube and train lines is a good way of putting potential tenants at ease. Many tenants will also appreciate knowing where there is local parking, which is helpful for when they have visitors.

Neighbourhood watch

The social impact of moving into a new neighbourhood cannot be discounted and factors such as high crime and nuisance neighbours play a huge role in decisions. A Direct Line survey found that 50% of the 2,000 people polled would check the crime statistics of a neighbourhood they were moving to; 47% would avoid any area with a high crime rate.

Energy efficiency and rating


Renting out a property with an energy efficiency rating of E or below is now against the law and corporate tenants – who often have the highest budgets – will not even consider anywhere that is not rated A-C. Electrical safety and having the Energy Performance Certificate available enables tenants and buyers to calculate their future energy costs. The Energy Saving Trust can give some worthwhile tips on improving the energy efficiency of your property and make sure you buy the highest rated white goods.

Other things that can devalue your property

Many principles that govern the selling of a property, also apply to renting it out, so to round off, here are some other things that can devalue a property and give it low appeal:

  • Situated on a busy road
  • Poorly maintained garden
  • Low water pressure
  • Mould or damp on the walls
  • Poor Wifi/Broadband coverage

And first impressions really do count!

Working with a furnishings partner to get it fully kitted out for rental or dressed to sell, is money well spent. James McNeil, Business Development Manager at leading furnishings provider InStyle Direct who Benham and Reeves work closely with, has given some tips here:

James McNeill, InStyle Direct

“The value of presentation in a fast-moving property market cannot be under-estimated. Furnishings that combine comfort and functionality and have instant ‘wow’ appeal are integral to making a property stand out. This is particularly important when lots of properties are entering the new build market and you need to get a tenant in quickly so no income is lost.

If you are using an estate agent to let your property, like Benham and Reeves, get their professional expertise concerning what they recommend for your property as rental prices do tend to fluctuate between areas and this will determine how much you should expect to spend on your furnishings.

When using a dressed to sell service, keep things simple, remove any unwanted furniture. A home full of clutter is a complete turn-off.

If you can afford to decorate, take a neutral approach and if the property is unfurnished, you may want to consider homestaging as this can often lead to a faster sale, particularly for larger homes”.

If you would like further advice on how to maintain the value of your property, talk to your nearest Benham and Reeves branch, we will be happy to talk through all the options and help you maximise the value of your investment.


About the Author

Marc has been a board director since 2001 and oversees the company’s rental operations as well as developing new business. He is instrumental in the company’s expansion and works closely with Managing Director Anita Mehra to develop its core services. Read more about Marc von Grundherr here - Read full profile