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Lucy Forde

Lucy Forde

29-03-2017

Rogue Contractors!

There are many issues for landlords to be aware of but in March 2017, an announcement was made by the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), warning of the risk of maintenance contractors taking advantage of landlords. In the Private Rented Sector (PRS) there is a need to rely on the support and assistance of other professionals, so it is very common for landlords and letting agents to enlist the services of “handymen” or maintenance professionals.  The warning comes on the back of some publicity concerning a number of contractors who have overcharged or delivered a substandard level of work.  This is one of the key reasons why many landlords opt to have a letting agent manage the property for them, as they have the expertise and contacts within the business to provide a quality level of service.

Maintenance work is vitally important

There are short and long-term needs for a landlord to ensure their property is well maintained. In the long term, maintenance of property impacts on the value, which is always something that should be kept to as high a standard as possible. In the short term, it is best to carry out repair work as quickly as possible to prevent possible long term damage and to make sure that tenants are happy and comfortable in their home, and therefore stay longer.  Swift action when it comes to repairs can make it easier to carry out maintenance work, it can reduce the overall cost of the work carried out and a well-maintained property is more likely to be well looked after by a tenant.  Luckily our Property Care Team has the solution to save you money and keep tenants happy.  

How Gatekeeper manages their contractors

We are crucially aware of how important it is to attract and maintain good professional contractors to work with and to that end, we work hard to keep standards high.  Here are some of the things that we do to protect our landlords, tenants, and properties.

  • Contracts.  All our contractors have a face to face meeting with a Property Manager to vet them as suitable before signing a contract with Gatekeeper which includes providing a warranty on the work they carry out.  We check that they have up to date Liability Insurance and continue to verify this annually.

  • Tenants.  When tenants ring to report an issue we have an online troubleshooting system which ensures that we resolve 50% of issues without even having to ring a contractor.  Only when we have established that there is a need for a professional to visit do we book a maintenance job.  We also make very clear to the tenant that should we book a contractor and in fact the responsibility for the fault lies with them, then they, not the landlord, are liable for the invoice.

  • Our 'Fast Fix' maintenance system means that all landlords automatically approve jobs up to a value of £100. This means that contractors can visit a property and immediately solve the problem, rather than visiting to quote, then revisiting to get the job done.  Most small maintenance jobs i.e. leaking taps and faulty light switches can be done within this limit and is more efficient, with the added bonus of keeping the tenant happy as well.

  • Invoices.  Once the work is completed and the invoice submitted the Property Manager will review the description of works, spot check the cost of parts and labour to ensure it is competitive.  If the cost of any invoice is over £250 then the work will be inspected before the invoice is paid. Any works carried out under this amount are checked at the next inspection booked at the property.

Looking after our Landlord’s properties as well as the welfare of our tenants is a huge part of the role the Property Care team carry out on a day to day basis.  Rest assured that keeping on top of our contractors to make sure that our landlords are getting value for money is a top priority.

Should you have any questions about the service we provide then please do not hesitate to get in contact on 0871 2000 155 or email us on pct@gatekeeper.co.uk

 

 

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