As a landlord myself I will first show you what I did on my own rental apartment and tell you what kind of tenant still lives there…
We (SimpleTwig Architecture.llc) will show you the character, layout and thinking behind several different rental apartments (this article is the first of several) for the Home Owner/Landlord they can incorporate into their own home, each with their own unique challenges. This post is just one of these examples, so please subscribe to see all, each the result of different set of circumstances.
Creating a viable rental apartment means to design an apartment that is functional, nice looking and cost effective to keep rents low enough to not scare prospective renters away. All these factors help tenants in the apartment as well as getting your apartment rented quickly.
It’s a fact that if you make a nice looking apartment you will attract the type of tenant who wants a nice place to live in. This in return means they will take care of your property. The opposite and unfortunate attitude is, ‘I will build the cheapest apartment possible because I expect my tenants to tear it up,’ which results in lower rental income and tenants who don’t care where they live and only need a place to sleep, thus this increases the possibility of a self-fulfilling prophecy that the tenant will NOT take care of the property, and thus the landlord will be making repairs and dealing with high turn-over (also resulting in lost income).
Apartment Case Study No. 1 [My (as landlord) rental apartment]:
As a landlord myself I will first show you what I did on my own rental apartment and tell you what kind of tenant still lives there… but before we start, I have to admit that it can be an effort to convince clients that my approach works and will make for better income, lower maintenance, happier tenants and an easier high quality life for everyone concerned.
View from Living looking thru french doors into bedroom. Note the built-in shelves and storage to make this very small apartment efficient and ‘look clean and orderly.’
First let me tell you about the latest tenant in this apartment. She is a professional who moved in alone. After a year she got a small dog, then a little later a boy friend who became her fiancé and then husband. Now some 7 years later they’re both still living there happily. In fact I like to think what I did for her is lay the foundation for her positive future, and indeed she and he are very happy, happy with their lives and happy with their apartment.
Looking from the bedroom. This apartment was so small it had to use it’s bedroom as access to the kitchen, bathroom and closet, but done in a way to yield the most space for bedroom furniture.
The result for me the landlord, a happy tenant who maintains the apartment and doesn’t move away, potentially leaving the apartment empty for months.
Despite the kitchen and bathroom being ‘tiny’ they are bright, vibrant and offer a lot of storage options, again to keep the apartment feeling neat, clean and ordered.
The effort to add extra storage and closets (2 full closets and extra ‘tenant storage area in the cellar’) helps the tenant to create a lovely apartment for themselves, rather than creating a cluttered apartment which only impacts their negative feelings about where they live ultimately ‘forcing them’ to move somewhere better. Add storage, use color that is balanced with neutrals to create vibrancy and life, and keep everything functional.
Besides shelving and storage, note how all lighting is recessed. This allows light to fall on surfaces and not glare in the eyes of the user. Lights are also carefully positioned to ‘shed light’ rather than meeting a code requirement which cares less about quality. A single light fixture centered in the middle of the room is the single worst thing a landlord can do to their own property. It sheds even light on everything, washing everything out, and making one feel like they’re standing in a utility room from the 1960s. For about $75 extra one can add a 2nd recessed light that will pay for itself with a happier tenant.
This legal 1 bedroom apartment of 500 Square Feet last rented for $1900 per month.