Our top ‘NOT to do’ list for Landlords at this time of year

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Written by Rob Joyce | Posted in Property Management |


Most of us are used to working to long ‘to do’ lists; here’s our ‘not to do’ list for Landlords, to make your life less hectic at this time of year:

Boiler servicing
It may sound quite controversial to some people, but consider ceasing to book a boiler service annually. They serve almost no purpose as they have only two real outcomes:

Outcome 1: Your boiler is OK, it’s not that old, it’s working and showing no signs of issue, so you shouldn’t worry about it unless something happens.

Outcome 2:
Your boiler is old, it’s working OK at the moment and showing no signs of issue, but if a problem does arise then you shouldn’t be surprised and will need to act swiftly; however, for now don’t worry about it unless something happens.

(Outcome 3: you have a service carried out under a general home policy cover by an engineer who is not familiar with your property; the likelihood is they take three attempts to find the boiler, then quote four times the market rate to replace it because it has some Sellotape on the front that they didn’t fit initially, so they can’t guarantee its safety.)

Gains to you as a landlord from this; nil. Tedium incurred by your tenants from this; lots. Frustration caused by the fact that your boiler breaks down 6 weeks later despite having been ‘serviced’; enormous. This is, of course, unless the servicing is a requirement of a much more valuable warranty scheme, which will cover the repair or replacement of the boiler on the proviso that regular services are carried out – as this may actually prove valuable. You may also be required by the building management to carry out an annual plumbing check, so please do check before you decide which route to take.

In our opinion, a far better idea (if you are really keen on the idea of regular services for your property) is to arrange an annual guttering check; the number of leaks caused every year by gutters being allowed to fill with random debris, leaves and grit during autumn, never ceases to amaze us.

Buying new furniture
If at all avoidable. When winter kicks in you get the advantage of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the January sales. Hold out for the new sofas, mattresses and so on until then if you can, despite experiencing extended wait times on delivery of these goods, as retailers will often be overbooked on orders. You will need to be quick not to miss out on limited availability of stock, but you will also save at least 20% on most purchases which, post tax rule changes, is clearly well worth it.

Carrying out questionably cheap boiler repairs
It’s autumn, the temperature is going in one direction only. If you take the cheap and highly dubious boiler repair now you are more likely to have the expensive and deeply unhappy tenants later. By all means take the gamble in March through to August, when cheap often can prove effective – and few people get overly emotional about unsuccessful heating repairs in June… However, once you’re pushing into September you need to accept that the importance of heating in the property is going to rapidly increase for your tenants, whilst at the same time the availability of reliable plumbers is going to shrink rapidly.

So, consider the more expensive option much more seriously – maybe now is the time to replace it if it’s a little older or has a rocky recent history in terms of functionality.

Admittedly telling the ‘questionably’ cheap from the just cheap repair options can be difficult. As a rule, there are two signs that something is questionable; the first is that your plumber doesn’t want to quote for repairs[1], the second is that the repair involves more than two replacement parts; this is especially true if there is no relationship between the parts that can be explained.

[1] Q: What if my plumber is just trying to get as much money as possible from me by carrying out an expensive replacement? A: If you don’t trust your plumber, stop using them, it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

Tags: black friday, Boiler, building, cheap, check, cyber monday, expense, gutter, guttering, january sales, Landlord, leak, Maintenance, Management, not to do, Plumber, plumbing, repair, replace, retailer, Servicing, tax, Tenant, to do list, warranty

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