Thursday 21st May 2015
They may live there, but it's your responsibility to provide a safe environment. If you don't see, you don't know.
Repairs and maintenance issues are the unpaid-for work every landlord faces. Whether you use a professional property manager or not, the responsibility (and cost) of a variety of repairs is yours to bear.
If you inspect each of these every 3 months (or more frequently), you'll reduce the risk of something major going wrong:
- The Bare Necessities of Life. Keeping gas, electricity and water supplies running to the property are your legal responsibility as a landlord. That includes drainage of waste water from the property being in proper working order. Your tenants may not know the tell-tale signs of trouble. You won't either, at first. But by regularly inspecting your properties, you'll soon see enough to act effectively.
- Smell you later. There's a reason why you can be woken by smelling salts. Smells alert you to joys and impending disasters. Question smells, so you can find out if it's something temporary or an ongoing problem. You'll smell damp in many properties before seeing it.
- Bills, bills, bills - It's unorthodox, but ask your tenants to show you their utility bills. You'll not get any immediately actionable information, but it'll allow you to spot invisible things going wrong when water or electricity bills are unexpectedly high. Leaky pipes will rarely be found before the water is running out of places it shouldn't be, but being thorough helps keep everyone in 'constant vigilance'.
The inspections will keep good tenants secure in the knowledge their landlord cares and will do what it takes to keep everything on an even keel. So don't neglect inspections or repair requests.
The best thing about inspections is bad tenants won't like them, and they'll soon leave to darken the doorstep of a less capable landlord.
And remember to get all repair requests in writing; even at the inspection. That's where professional property managers that use Fixflo have an edge.
There's no need to take incomplete notes to follow up later, when Fixflo makes sure you have the right information to action first time. Small maintenance issues taken care of quickly don't grow into big problems costing even bigger money later. And better information helps first time fixes and further reduces your maintenance costs.
To find a letting agent in your area who uses Fixflo click here.
Editorial Contact Details - Conor Shilling