From our experience, property management is perhaps the easiest way to jeopardise a good relationship with a customer. Here are the top seven criticisms that we never want at us:
• They are hard to get hold of.
• One never speaks to the same person twice.
• They are slow to address issues.
• They instruct works without consulting me (the landlord).
• They do not seek to find the best value solution.
• There was no follow up.
• I could have done it better myself!
Rather than being passed on to a totally new team in a property management department that is miles away from your property, you will continue to be looked after by the people you already know at the local office. Rebecca Quinn is the main point of contact but the rest of the team assist her.
When an issue is reported, we follow a procedure which endeavours to get the job done as quickly as possible at best value to the client. It is as follows:
1. Investigate. Can we fix it ourselves? Yes: Job is done and no cost to the client. No: Step 2.
2. Is it an emergency? Yes – call engineer immediately and inform the client. No – step 3.
3. Arrange a quotation and seek client approval.
4. Book the work.
5. Follow up with the tenant.
It is amazing how much money we can save a landlord simply by going over to the property ourselves to investigate, armed with a few tools. We are quite good at screwing toilet seats back on (carefully removing one’s tie first) or re-hanging a picture hook – jobs that would cost about £100 for a contractor to visit. Boilers are the hardest things to understand and, early on in a tenancy, issues can arise because tenants just need help with programming the timer or topping up the water pressure. We are on hand to help and it is all part of the service.
For the jobs that we cannot do ourselves, we have service agreements with key contractors which ensure that a works order is carried out very quickly and at a fair price.
As standard, we carry out a property inspection every six months but are happy to do it more frequently if requested. On the visit, we go through a checklist to make sure that the property is being well looked after and that everything is working properly. The check-list is sent to the landlord and any action points are addressed.
If for example, the boiler breaks down on New Year’s Eve, we have an agreement with our preferred plumbing and electrical contractor to provide emergency support out of hours.
This is optional but we can continue to look after the property, perhaps organising various bits of maintenance and remaining on hand to address emergencies.
This is a big part of our job. We receive the rent, reconcile it, pay contractors, top up the landlord’s float if necessary and then send payment to the landlord together with a statement of income and expenditure.
We will contact the utility provider and provide them with final meter readings and the details of the new occupier. We will also contact the local council and transfer responsibility for council tax.
For the jobs that we cannot do ourselves, we have a ‘little black book’ of reliable and professional contractors who represent good value for money. We can happily use your preferred contractors and would just add their details to your file.
We would love to manage all the homes we let; it ensures that our landlords are fulfilling their legal responsibilities and our tenants are happy to continue to live in the property for as long as possible.