When you become a landlord, one of the biggest problems you’ll face is dealing with emergencies such as boiler breakdowns, leaking pipes and radiators, and, worst of all, blocked drains. But fear not, Leaders has Property Managers and an emergency repair service that could make your landlord life that little bit easier.
Having managed properties for our landlords for over 30 years, we know that issues such as those above can come out of nowhere - and for your tenants, they can seem like real emergencies. Water may be pouring in through a roof, the heating may have cut off during a cold snap, and the tenant may have no hot water. Since they are renting your property, sorting out the repairs may be beyond their control in practical terms. To make things worse, they may not have experienced problems like these before, so they might expect someone to come out on the same day to fix the issues.
However, as a homeowner and landlord, you will know that emergency help doesn’t come cheap. During high demand periods when the weather is against us, tradespeople may be fully booked – and when you do manage to arrange a tradesperson to attend (and hopefully fix) the problem, you may have to pay premium rates.
But for our Fully Managed landlords, this is where Leaders can really help.
Accidents, repairs, and emergencies: what are landlords’ responsibilities?
In legal terms, your property has to ensure the 29 hazards identified by the Housing Health Safety Rating System (HHSRS) are safe from the date you’ve let it.
You must also ensure it is legally and safely let via the Homes Act. This was introduced in 2019 (and is extended to all tenancies from March 2020). In terms of repairs, once a tenant reports a problem, you’re obliged to reply in writing within 14 days to explain how you will go about repairing what’s gone wrong, if you haven’t already done this.
Landlords know problems tend to crop up all at once, often at the most inconvenient times: just at the start of your much-needed holiday, for example, or when you are cash-strapped.
If you’re a self-managing landlord, you can protect yourself from the stress and aggravation that emergency property issues can bring by keeping your appliances checked and certified. Essentials such as boiler, gas and electric appliances will be less likely to breakdown if you service them regularly. Keep your certificates filed where you can find them, so that if any problems arise, you have evidence that you have kept your health and safety checks up-to-date.
Although you can’t foresee accidents and emergencies, there are two ways in which you can ensure that you don’t end up having to deal with the ensuing fallout:
Full management of your property
The first option is to become a Fully Managed landlord. This means you’ll have a dedicated Property Manager who will manage your property for you during the tenancy. If a problem occurs, your tenant will contact your Property Manager directly, and we’ll deal with everything from beginning to end.
Your Property Manager can liaise with your tenant and instruct tradespeople who understand the needs for a property that’s being let, so any repairs carried out meet legal requirements. The tradespeople can call into the local Leaders branch and pick up the keys, saving you the time of having to visit the property yourself and wait for the tradesperson to arrive.
This option can save you hours spent tracking down a plumber, electrician or drain expert, and then liaising with the tenant and tradesperson to find a mutually convenient date for repairs to go ahead, providing keys and being available yourself for the visit.
It also offers you peace of mind that the work should be carried out in line with the Homes Act and the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.
Insuring your property against emergencies and accidents
A second option is to engage us to manage your property for you and, in addition, secure access to our specially-negotiated Emergency Repair Service. You will receive our service 365 days of the year, and it covers you for up to £750 in call-out charges, labour and materials.
Our insurance package covers emergency or accidental events including:
- Sudden central heating or boiler failures requiring immediate repair
- Plumbing emergencies relating to leaking pipes and radiators, water tanks or blocked drains
- Blockages in toilet waste pipes where there is only one toilet in the property
- Electrical failure within the property that requires urgent repair
- Vermin infestations such as rats’, mice’ or wasps’ nests inside the home.
Our insurance option is available for as little as £126.66 (inclusive of Insurance Premium Tax) per year, per rental property. You can reduce the actual amount you pay according to your current tax rate, by deducting the cost against your rental income.
How much can I expect to pay to have problems taken care of?
It’s true that both of these options may cost a little more than self-managing or than your current buildings and contents insurance. However, these expenses are tax-deductible, so this level of service could actually cost a lot less than you think, net of tax.
So, to avoid an unpleasant wake-up to an urgent call in the middle of the night, or disruption during a big family celebration, to deal with an emergency or organise repairs in your let property, just email, call or drop into your local Leaders office to chat through how we can help prepare for emergencies and fully meet your obligations as a landlord.