If you’re thinking of becoming a residential landlord, there are many things you might be looking to get out of it, but – unless you’re planning to run multiple properties in your own management business – a full-time job probably isn’t one of them. Chances are you’ve got plenty else to keep you busy without single-handedly staying on top of your property’s maintenance.
It’s too easy to find yourself stopping by to get jobs done yourself – for convenience, to keep costs down or simply because you don’t know a reliable trader to do it for you. But no one’s an expert in everything, and taking the time to find local professionals and establish good working relationships with them can be hugely beneficial in the long run.
You’ll save precious time and rest easy knowing that your property is being taken care of thoroughly and safely – plus your tenants will view you positively if you’re quick to set up proper repair and maintenance appointments.
Here are the main services that you should consider outsourcing…
When a boiler or heating system breaks down, the right trader to call is often less obvious than you’d think. A plumber might take one look at it and say “You need an electrician” – and vice versa. While it would be ideal to have one tradesperson on speed dial who can do electrics, plumbing, gas and just about everything in between, that’s not always possible.
The important thing is to look closely at your system before issues arise and ensure that you’ve got someone to call for any type of problem that could occur. In addition, get radiators bled before the start of winter, and – if your boiler runs on gas – book an annual inspection from a Gas Safe registered engineer to be certain it’s in working order.
It’s a broad term, but one thing you can be sure of is it covers a multitude of jobs that should only be performed by an expert. From frozen pipes to overflowing cisterns and unexplained leaks, it’s crucial to have a reliable plumber on hand when you need them.
Appliance repairs, cleaning and other maintenance jobs are one thing, but plumbing tasks almost always come with a built-in sense of urgency. If there’s a chance of your property being flooded, there’s also a chance of it being irreversibly (or at least very expensively) damaged, so you should always be able to call in a plumber at short notice.
From faulty fridges to loose door hinges (and, if you’re letting a furnished property, much more besides) barely a week goes by without something needing to be repaired. It’s important that any requests from tenants are taken seriously and dealt with quickly, no matter how trivial they might seem.
It’s particularly tempting in this area to attempt repairs yourself as a cost-cutting exercise, but if you’ve got a handyman you use regularly then you’re bound to be able to establish a relationship in which you won’t be overcharged. If you do, you can be confident that you won’t get the same complaint from your tenants a month down the line.
While this is not a legal requirement for landlords, it’s your responsibility to ensure that any white goods and electrical appliances you provide for your tenants are working properly and safely.
A PAT test every couple of years (the next date will be specified after completion of the first test) is an effective way to ensure not only safety, but that the checks are thorough and accountable. The electrician you use for repairs and other jobs will be able to do this, so you don’t have to source somebody new.
Your legal responsibilities around fire safety for your tenants cover risk assessment, alarm checks and an emergency plan. The last two of these are yours to organise – ensure smoke, heat and CO2 alarms are checked and logged regularly, and develop a full evacuation plan which tenants are made aware of.
The fire risk assessment, however, should be carried out by a professional independent fire risk assessor. The frequency with which it should be reviewed depends on the age of the building and the number of storeys it has.