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Buy-to-let property consultants



Tenant management:
 
 - Inventory
 - Utility, council tax & other bills
 - Tenant referencing
 - Contract signing & legal paperwork
 - Maintenance
 - Renewal management
 - Rent level management

Maintenance

LBuy2LetExpert recognises maintenance is an essential component of the tenant management process. All too often a landlord will 'go to sleep' on a property once the place is let. Some estate agents are guilty of this too. All maintenance should be taken very seriously. It is often the only way that a landlord can differentiate itself from the competition once the tenancy has begun. Decent maintenance can make all the difference between a renewal or otherwise. Maintenance should be viewed as an opportunity to reduce voids and re-lets. It is therefore an investment and an opportunity and not an annoyance. Maintenance should be seen more than fixing things but also the opportunity to reward tenants who are civilised. Some real examples below are from Buy2LetExpert’s properties:

  • It is February and the boiler has broken down. Immediately (within 2 hours of the call), But2LetExpert staff attends the property as per the maintenance charter. It is quickly established it is not an operator fault or simple repair. Numerous outside plumbers advertise repairs for 'fixed fees' etc etc. The manufacturer uses recommended or its own service engineers who carry 99% of the parts and know the boiler well. However, the plumber option looks much cheaper. Choose the manufacturer every time. The plumber may find the fault but then will need to order the part or parts which will be expensive, need ordering, collecting and may take several days! Once the parts are in more time is lost as a new appointment must be booked. If the plumber is busy he may let a day or two 'slip' before contacting the landlord to say the part is in. The tenant meanwhile is freezing for 7 days or more! This is completely unacceptable. Using the manufacturer typically means the whole job is executed in one visit. So to summarise: Buy2LetExpert would contact the boiler manufacturer and provide storage heaters the moment the maintenance manager attended the property.
     
  • A tenant calls to advice of a loose kitchen door. This example is far less urgent. The tenant should be responded to within 24 hours as per the maintenance charter. At this time an appointment should be set to attend the property in the coming days. While attending, Buy2LetExpert use the chance to visually check the property. Many agents charge for “periodic inspections”. Buy2LetExpert would always conduct an inspection at the time of maintenance. This is far less intrusive and costs much less. Furthermore, small repairs (not mentioned by the tenant) should and will be executed at the time of the visit. There are always many jobs that take 5 minutes or less such as maybe the odd light bulb or similar issue. All cost very little (as the maintenance staff are already on site). Doing such jobs create enormous good will at very little cost to the landlord. The benefit may well be a renewal, a reduced void or more so there is actually huge financial benefit to the landlord. This procedure is only possible when the maintenance staff are directly employed by Buy2LetExpert and paid as an employee and not a subcontractor. A subcontracted plumber will fix a dripping tap but will just walk past the loose door stop or broken door handle! This is absolutely not acceptable and would never happen with Buy2LetExpert.
     
  • During a maintenance visit it is noted the paintwork looks poor in the entrance areas and living room. Checking the inventory notes, it is noted to be about 3 years since the last redecoration and Buy2LetExpert charter suggests internal decoration should be executed every 3 years. The tenant will have seen this charter at the time the contract was signed. This is an ideal opportunity to ask the tenant for a redecoration. If agreed, try to time it near to renewal time and then, if the tenants move on the place looks better for viewings. As always Buy2LetExpert is trying to reduce voids and increase investment performance.
     

The actual Buy2LetExpert Charter for maintenance and related issues:
 

Dedicated Care-taking Services

Place2live Ltd provides an ongoing care-taking service to his clients well above the very basic services offered by some landlords and their agents. At the same time we respect that the property is the tenant’s home for the duration of the tenancy. However, should maintenance be required it is important that repairs are carried out quickly and to a high standard. See below for details:

  • Dedicated Maintenance Department. Direct telephone and e mail access
     
  • Maintenance Service Charter

     - Non emergency problems: Mostly attended within 1 working day. Immediate referral to a specialist contractor on the very rare occasions that might be necessary.

     - Emergency problems: High priority. Visit within hours.
     
  • House Sitting services and Security. Place2live Ltd will (upon request by the tenant) 'house sit' to receive any specialist contractors (e.g. washing machine repairers, heating engineers etc). Any such outside contractors used can also be accompanied by ourselves while inside the property to increase security for the tenant should the tenant so require.
     
  • Decorations.

     - Internal: Min every *3 years
     - External: Min very *5 years

    *Tenant will be informed of previous decoration date prior to contract signing
     
  • Communal Areas** Internal and external cleaning and general upkeep.

    *Communal yard, gardens, porches, staircases etc not applicable to all properties.
     
  • References. Our service quality is best verified by contacting our existing tenants. Visit www.place2live.co.uk and choose any property. We will then be pleased to supply the full address and contact detail of a tenant at that property who will provide a reference regarding our services.

Using the above as guidance, the scale of any deductions becomes easier to calculate. An example might be to look at two scenarios for internal decorations. In our example we expect to redecorate every 3 years. The cost is estimated at £2000:

Scenario 1. A tenant has completely destroyed the internal decorations. However, he has been at the property for 3 years. So, no deductions from the deposit here required.

Scenario 2. A tenant has been at the property just 1 year and a the paint is already badly marked and there are a number of holes in the wall made by the tenant who drilled for pictures. Here, we apply a depreciation of 33% x £2000 = £667.00. We should make a deduction from the deposit equal to £2000 - £667 = £1333.00

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

The registration of the deposit with a quasi government organisation is a legal requirement and forms just one of the many other legal responsibilities of the modern landlord. Once the deposit is registered, the tenant (and landlord) can call upon the services of an independent arbitrator in the event of a dispute regarding the refund of the deposit at the end of the tenancy. More than 70% of such disputes are lost by landlords. However, many of these disputes are lost because the correct inventory procedures are not executed by landlords and their agents. Utilising the Buy2LetExpert model described above will reduce the risks of losing such arbitration cases. Furthermore, and probably more importantly, being clear and an up front regarding depreciation combined with taking thorough but honest inventories will reduce the chance of a tenant going to arbitration. In our experience, if there has ever been a dispute, simply forward the 'before and after photos' of the item in question.
 

 

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To contact us call: 020 7482 0300 or email