Far from just sitting back and letting the rent roll in, the average landlord will be required to carry out repair or maintenance work on a buy-to-let property 72 times during their ownership, costing them over £34,000. And while no two properties are the same, one particular maintenance job will see landlords returning to the property multiple times unless it's properly dealt with.
Newly released research by lettings and estate agent, Benham and Reeves, looked at the most common repair and maintenance tasks associated with a buy-to-let property, how often they occur during the ownership of a property and the total cost of completing these tasks over their period of ownership.
The research shows that the average landlord will own a buy-to-let property for an average of 109.2 months, or just over nine years.
During this time, the 12 most common maintenance issues alone will see them carry out an average of 72 repairs on the property, costing them £34,314 in the process.
The most costly of the lot are repairs made to the roof and while it is only likely to be required six times during the span of their ownership, the total cost of these repairs comes in at £3,494.
While a landlord is likely to replace or repair white goods just five times during the time they own a buy-to-let property - the lowest frequency of all repair tasks analysed - they rank as the second largest overall maintenance cost at £3,231.
Keeping the property in a fresh lick of paint may also be required just five times during ownership, but also ranks as the third largest total cost associated with maintaining a buy-to-let at £2,992 on average.
However, when it comes to the most persistent problems facing the nation’s landlords, it's household pests that rank top.
Benham and Reeves estimate that during the average time of buy-to-let ownership, a landlord will have to address the issue of pest control as many as eight times - costing them a total of £2,940 in the process - the fourth highest total cost.
Mould or damp is also one the biggest banes of the life of a landlord and while it ranks as one of the less expensive repairs to make at £2,752 in total, the average landlord will need to carry out mould maintenance an average of seven times during their ownership of the property.
Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, commented: “The long-term cost of being a landlord cannot be ignored. Anyone who is thinking of investing in buy-to-let property needs to first be aware of how ongoing outgoings will affect the overall profitability of their investment.
"However, ensuring that you’re always on top of maintenance issues is much more affordable than letting them get out of control, not least because a high-quality property reduces tenant turnover and, therefore, void periods.
"Over the course of the ownership lifespan, these costs do little to damage the great returns of property investment, but would-be landlords do need to make sure they have enough cash flow available to cover maintenance jobs as and when they arise, while safe in the knowledge that, over time, those costs will be recouped.
"The good news is that while some maintenance costs, such as roofing repairs, are amongst the most expensive, they are also the least frequent.
"What’s more, they can be mitigated with the right investment. For example, those who purchase new, off-plan won’t have such worries for at least five years, which helps minimise expenses.
"When purchasing a flat, any roofing repairs are the responsibility of the whole building, which also helps to keep costs down, while pest control issues are also often dealt with by the block as a whole.”