Tuesday, 25 October 2011
We are landlords not care workers.
“Shower button has broken off”, ” washing machine is not draining”, “I’m locked out the house!” “The bathroom light bulb has gone out”
Being a landlord is not all about collecting the rent at the end of the month and sitting back until the tenant hands in their notice. Proactive property management is what creates repeat business, good referrals and recommendations. Reacting to problems as quickly and effectively as possible is what helps creates solid landlord and tenant relationships.
Now I’m not saying that you must jump to the beat of your tenant but being at the end of the phone or replying by e-mail to questions and complaints is all part of a landlords responsibilities. I’ve had many a phone call from tenants informing me that the kitchen light bulb has gone out. When I ask them if they have changed the bulb there is often a silence at the end of the phone and then a “oh, not yet. Should I do that?” We do not provide a hotel, B&B or handy maintenance service however having everything in place and available to deal with issues is a must.
As we all know problems don’t always happen when it is convenient for us to sort. The 9 to 5 routine gets blown out the window. Smoke alarms like to “set themselves off” in the middle of the night. Power cuts, water leaks and then there’s my old favourite when a tenant goes on a night out has a few too many and then gives me a nice 4am wake up call to inform me that they have lost their keys and it’s my fault. Ha! Unfortunately we have to provide answers and solutions. Turning a blind eye, hitting the silence button or rolling over in bed until the phone stops ringing is not good enough. Usually there is a solution that can wait until the next working day but in the few instances where that’s not good enough you better be ready to jump into action.
There needs to be a clear definition of what an emergency is and what can wait. What warrants an out of hours call out and what is the tenant being too lazy to do themselves. It’s a good idea to get examples of what is an emergency to your tenants at the start of their tenancy. Water leaking into our out of your property needs a quick response or you will have the council enforcement officers taking the lead getting involved and sometimes creating more problems than there was originally. I have been to properties the morning after the problematic night before and doors have been kicked in and windows smashed in order to gain entry to the property and turn the water off. Electrical faults are a priority along with noise complaints and neighbour disturbances.
As the title states. We are landlords. Educate and inform your tenants as to what is acceptable. Let them know how to make valid requests and report repairs. Don’t hand the keys over on move in day and then become the dreaded invisible landlord. Get on top of things from the start and you’ll more likely have a smooth running tenancy.