window coverings for student rentals

9 Replies

What is the least maintenance window covering for college student rentals? We have 20 properties ranging in age from 1 to 90 years old. I would like to standardize on a window covering that is low maintenance and inexpensive. We currently have min-blinds. They are cheap but take hours to clean. They also break frequently. What are some better alternatives?

My mini-blinds at home do not break, If the tenant breaks them they have two options:

  1. they purchase and replace them
  2. they are paying me to purchase and replace ($10 + 25 labor), This is income generating. I pay $5 each discounted in bulk.

If I see this on my monthly drive or annual inspection I will send a letter. If it is during the move-out inspection I take it from their deposit. I would expect no less from a property management company.

We also spend a lot of time cleaning mini-blinds. We charge the tenant for the time spent cleaning (if they didn't clean them), but it is very time consuming. These are student rentals remember so we don't usually have long term renters. They are often there only a year, hopefully two years, but seldom more than that. Also, almost all of our rentals begin around June 1st, so we are extremely busy and we need a window covering that doesn't take as much time to clean.

Mini blinds are pretty cost effective. Here's a cleaning tip (for you or your cleaning crew): take them down, put them in the tub. Leave them just a little bit extended, not all the way up or down. Spray them thoroughly with Awesome Orange cleaner/degreaser (this is an amazing, low-odor cleaner you can buy at Dollar Tree). Leave it a few minutes to soak, then blast with the shower. You can also do this outside and rinse them with a hose.

Way faster, and better results, than trying to wipe them down.

Medium team zen logo vJean Bolger, 33 Zen Lane | http://www.solidrealestateadvice.com

I don't know of anything cheaper than blinds. Honestly, I would use the cheap plastic ones and expect to replace them. I've never kept blinds after a tenant. Even when I clean them, there are often broken strings and bends/dents.

If you decide to keep them and clean them, there are faster ways then trying to clean them in place. Take them out of their brackets and hang them outside on a clothes line. Brush the dust off, spray with 100% ammonia and rinse with a hose, air dry. Almost always gets them clean without having to use special tools or clean each slat by hand.

Originally posted by @Jean Bolger :
Mini blinds are pretty cost effective. Here's a cleaning tip (for you or your cleaning crew): take them down, put them in the tub. Leave them just a little bit extended, not all the way up or down. Spray them thoroughly with Awesome Orange cleaner/degreaser (this is an amazing, low-odor cleaner you can buy at Dollar Tree). Leave it a few minutes to soak, then blast with the shower. You can also do this outside and rinse them with a hose.

Way faster, and better results, than trying to wipe them down.

Wow. We wrote this at the same time. Obviously we have cleaned some blinds in our day!

too funny, Kristine Marie Poe !

I used to use ammonia, but I swear by that Awesome Orange stuff these days for hard cleaning. None of the toxic smell. Also the best thing I've found for cleaning tar/nicotine stains, btw (my least favorite thing in the entire world, I would rather clean out a chicken coop)

Medium team zen logo vJean Bolger, 33 Zen Lane | http://www.solidrealestateadvice.com

I'm in the same boat with college rentals. Mini blinds get broken or damaged almost every year. I'm considering switching to all curtain rods and cheap curtains. I'm starting to think that investing in heavy duty curtain rods is the way to go. The curtains themselves you can always toss in the washing machine and they will look like new. I absolutely hate changing mini blinds. The mounting hardware is such crap it seems like you have to swap it out every other time you switch the blinds.

Eric,

We are thinking about curtain rods and curtains also. Go into a unit, strip the curtains and throw into the washer/dryer and then re-hang. We have almost all of our units change over during a two week period so we have very little time to mess with mini-blinds.

In our garage, we have bought basic vinyl shower curtains and hung them as "curtains". For an interior room, perhaps you could find a nicer vinyl alternative? Easy to clean, cheap to replace, and most college kids probably won't even notice what's hanging on the walls.