Should you or should you not add a fence to your rental property? The Campus Connection Team says the decision to fence a rental property often comes down to three things, namely:
- Curb appeal – The fence around a rental can be a huge part of what frames a visitor’s first impressions of the home. A fence accentuates the architectural style of your building and adds visual boundaries around the property.
- Security – For renters who have small children or pets, a fence is more than an aesthetic accessory. It is essential to the safety of their kids and pets. Adding a fence to your rental makes the home attractive to a wider pool of prospective tenants.
- Privacy – A privacy fence increases the range of activities tenants can do in the yard. Since the fence creates a secluded area that is cut off from the view of neighbors and passersby, tenants feel safer and more in control of their surroundings.
But these benefits depend on the type of fence you add to the property. Some fences are only good for improving curb appeal but are practically useless for adding privacy to a home. A picket fence, for example, will not provide much security around a property.
The kind of fence you add to the property also has significant implications for the operational costs of the rental and the overall value of the property. What are the things you should consider when deciding about the kind of fence to install in your rental?
How to choose a fence for your rental property
For most property owners there are only six options to consider when looking for fencing material for their rental.
Wood is the traditional favorite for making fences. Wood fences are charming and perfect for privacy, security, or curb appeal. The upfront cost of using wood is moderate but landlords may face issues because of volatility in the pricing of wood due to scarcity, environmental concerns, and unstable supply chains. Wood fences also have a severe downside — their high cost of maintenance.
Even if the wood is cheaper than other options on this list (with the exception of vinyl), the cost of maintaining the fence is higher in the long run. This is because wooden fences have a tendency to decompose, fade, or crack. They are vulnerable to termites, need constant repainting/refinishing, and have a short lifespan of 5-10 years.
2. Ornamental metal – steel, aluminum, and wrought iron
Aluminum, steel, and wrought iron are the top options for decorative fencing. Aluminum is malleable, lightweight, and easy to clean but these fences damage easily and do not offer any privacy. Also, they are quite expensive. In a wet climate, it is easy to justify the high cost of aluminum fencing due to its high resistance to corrosion.
But if your rental is in a state like Utah where rust is not an issue because of the dry climate, an aluminum fence does not make economic sense. Steel fences, on the other hand, are more durable than aluminum and can be galvanized to make them rust-proof. But steel fences are very expensive and because of their weight, they have high installation costs. Furthermore, they don’t provide much privacy.
Wrought iron fences are classy. Like aluminum, they can be molded into elegant designs, but unlike aluminum, wrought iron is sturdy. However, the very thing that makes wrought iron attractive also makes it a bad option. This type of fencing has almost disappeared because of the level of craftsmanship required to make them. Cost and maintenance are always going to be issued with a wrought iron fence.
Vinyl fences are a popular option because of their ease of installation. They are a top choice for homeowners and landlords because of their low cost. Furthermore, vinyl fences are beautiful and are available in a wide range of designs. Another advantage of vinyl is that they don’t need a lot of maintenance.
But, vinyl does present significant issues when used as fencing for a rental. The first is its tendency to dent. Due to the thin profile of the fences, their ability to resist strong winds and brute force attacks is minimal. Additionally, because vinyl is made from plastics, the material is highly susceptible to harsh weather.
4. Brick and stone
Brick and stone fences are the most durable option on this list. These types of fences are virtually unaffected by weather. But brick and stone fences are expensive and laborious to install. Also, they are completely inflexible; once installed, the fence is very hard to modify. Although a brick and stone fence does not damage easily, if it does get damaged, the entire damaged section (or wall) must be rebuilt.
5. Chain-link fencing
A chain-link fence is a simple and affordable option. But this is not an option most rental property owners would consider because this kind of fencing can actually devalue your rental. But, for properties on a large expanse of land, a chain-link fence might be the most economically feasible option. A chain-link fence also makes sense for corrals and pens. Being made of metal, chain-link fences are susceptible to rust, especially around the link joints.
6. Composite fences
Composite fences are the newest type of fencing material on this list. These types of fencing are a cross between wood and plastic. Composite fences, such as the ones from Trex Fencing are made from 95% recycled wood and 5% plastic, making them one of the most environmentally-friendly fence options on the market.
Composite combines the durability and beauty of wood with the advantages of plastic. Unlike wood which is easily ravaged by the elements, composite does not present any maintenance issues. Like PVC and vinyl, composite fences do not require repainting yet unlike vinyl and PVC, they do not break easily and are not sensitive to extreme cold or heat.
Which of these fencing materials is best for your rental property? In order to make that decision, here are the things you should consider.
The kind of tenant you are targeting
Who is your typical tenant? The demographic you are marketing to matters. If your tenants are young families with school-age children, the security and durability of the fence are important factors.
For rentals where privacy is a big issue, wood and vinyl are good options. But Trex composite fences not only provide full privacy, but they also let you enjoy the best of wood and vinyl.
Do you allow pets in the rental?
Renters with dogs need durable fencing to keep their animals from running loose. A fence also protects passersby from an aggressive dogs. For pet-friendly rentals, the strength of the fence and the privacy it offers are vital.
A privacy fence means that a tenant’s dog is not likely to see passersby and respond aggressively to them. For these types of properties, a Trex composite fence is still the most sensible option.
Cost of Maintenance
The climate in a rental’s location plays a role in the kind of fence to install. Humid conditions pose a problem for wood, chain-link, and wrought iron fences. In areas with extremely hot summers or cold winters, vinyl fencing will break down.
The fence’s ability to withstand impact is another important concern, especially for homes where there are young children. But the maintenance and durability issues encountered with other fencing options are the reasons a Trex composite fence is the best choice. Trex composite fences do not rust, they perform better than Vinyl/PVC in harsh climates and are able to resist impact.
Lastly, the upfront costs of composite fencing are reasonable and the return on investment of installing this material beats the ROI on other fencing materials. However, there is something to be aware of when looking to install a composite fence around your rental. All composite fences are not created equal. Trex composite fencing overcomes the shortcomings of all the other composite fences available in the market.