One of the biggest problems relating to the management of property is maintenance.
Maintenance problems tend to fall into two camps.
The first is emergency work; those things that occur which need immediate attention. These can be a whole range of things from smashed windows to blown fuses. However, in my experience a good 50% relate to plumbing matters. A boiler that fails to start up, showers or washing machines that start leaking or taps that won’t shut off. Depending on the severity of the problem, they often need immediate attention in order to prevent serious long-term damage.
This is why being on good terms with a plumber is useful. If you can cultivate a friendship with a trustworthy plumber; this relationship will turn out to be “priceless”. It’s always good if you also have a back up as well, just in case the other is away or can’t meet the required timescale. Remember emergency plumbers aren’t cheap; so try and use them as a last resort. If the problem can wait for even just a few hours so that your regular plumber can look at it; the cost will probably half.
You should remember though that you do have a legal responsibility to the tenant to get the problem sorted as soon as possible. In addition, leaving it may prove far more expensive than acting immediately so there is a lot to evaluate quickly before you make your decision. Always remember that ensuring that appliances such as boilers and cookers are serviced regularly should cut down the chances that they will go wrong in the first place.
Other types of emergencies are likely to be electrical, or appliance based; such as an oven that stops working. In these situations, if you haven’t got somebody at hand that can do the work, you can do what I have done on a number of occasions try using the trades directory www.yell.com . It’s never ideal using somebody you don’t know or is not personally recommended, but often I have found very competent & helpful people using standard directory services.
A few tips for your selection strategy.
Always start by trying to select local tradesmen. This way they are more likely to be able to help quickly and charge you less if for instance they can do your job on the way home. Remember to test out their experience and knowledge first on the phone to make sure they will be able to do the job. Finally, good trades men are normally busy, so be wary if they appear too desperate to help you out.
In addition to these urgent jobs, there is the inevitable longer-term maintenance work. If unattended these jobs can cause long-term damage to your investment. You have to be careful though as these jobs can come back to ‘haunt’ you. This is because:
a) The tenant doesn’t tell you until the damage has become major or you discover them yourself when they move out.
b) Because the problem is not pressing you ignore it as it is not major and there always seems to be more important things to do.
Scenario (a) is an example of why regular inspections are essential. They should allow you to pick up on these problems, before they get too large. Scenario (b) is entirely of the landlords making and cannot be blamed on anybody else.
The best way to avoid it is to have an organised maintenance schedule. Time can often be a problem for a busy landlord. One way of saving time is to avoid having to shop for the products you need to carry out the work. Have a look at www.screw-fix.com as a way of reducing the time spent shopping for building related items.
Finally, be aware of the provisions of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 requiring you to keep the property in good repair. Failure to keep up with the maintenance could leave you open to legal challenge, particularly if you get into a dispute with the tenant. Then these minor maintenance matters can often be used as a ‘reason’ for non-payment of rent.
FORMS FOR LETTING PROPERTY
FINANCE AND TAX ON RENTAL PROPERTY
RENTAL PROPERTY REGULATIONS
INVESTING IN BTL PROPERTY
WHAT TO BUY
BUYING OFF PLAN
KNOWING THE RISKS
MANAGING YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY
NON - PAYMENT OF RENT
GETTING YOUR MONEY BACK
THE TENANT WONT MOVE OUT
THE TENANT DOES A BUNK
RAISING THE RENT
REDUCING THE RENT
REPAYING THE TENANCY DEPOSIT
DAMP, MOULD AND CONDENSATION
LETTING RENTAL PROPERTY
LEGISLATION ON LETTING PROPERTY
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
HOUSING ACT APPEAL DISPUTES
THE LANDS TRIBUNAL
RIGHTS OF LIGHT APPLICATION
APPEALS FROM LEASEHOLD VALUATION TRIBUNALS (LVT's)
POSSESSION - SECTION 8 NOTICE
POSSESSION - SECTION 21 NOTICE
SECTION 21 TIMETABLE AND PROCESS
GROUNDS FOR POSSESSION
HARASSMENT BY LANDLORDS
RENT DISPUTES BETWEEN LANDLORD & TENANT
FAIR RENT (RAC)
MARKET RENT UNDER AST
LEASEHOLD VALUATION TRIBUNALS
MODIFICATION OF RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS