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Taking the frustration out of property rentals – Period properties vs new-builds

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Property management is perhaps one of the biggest challenges a landlord faces with their buy-to-let property. Failing to recognise how quickly a loose roof tile can turn into a major leak causing thousands of pounds of damage is a hard – and expensive – lesson to learn. Many landlords believe that owning a new-build property means there will be less maintenance and repair work. While this is usually true, there are plenty of things that can and do go wrong. And these can be a headache for the landlord who has to sort them out just as much as for the tenant. So let’s take a look at the sort of property management challenges you might face for both new-builds and period properties – and show how you can easily resolve them.

Managing new-build properties

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New-build property rentals don’t tend to have the problems found in older properties such as a leaking roof or a damp problem. Any issues with the construction of the property should have been picked up during the snagging inspection and if not, any further problems should be covered by the 10 year NHBC warranty.

The most common problems – appliance breakdowns

One of the most common issues in new-build properties is that of appliances breaking down. Fridges in particular seem prone to problems. Often this happens while the appliance is still under warranty which may seem a relief but it actually means we have to wait for the manufacturer’s own repairman to visit and this can take up to 10 days.

This can be a huge inconvenience for the tenant so we do everything we can to make life easier for them in the meantime. We’ll put a mini-fridge in the property free of charge to help – after all it is very difficult to live without a fridge for any length of time. On one occasion a tenant’s fridge broke down just after they had done a £200 grocery shop so we supplied a fridge the same day to ensure the food didn’t spoil.    This keeps the tenant happy and reassures them we are doing everything we can to help. It also means they won’t refuse to pay the rent or ask for a rent reduction claiming the property is ‘uninhabitable’ or have to claim the cost of any ruined food.

Central heating and air conditioning unit breakdowns

Perhaps the next most common problem in new-build properties is the central heating breaking down. As you might expect, this tends to happen in the depths of winter when you simply can’t manage without heating! Again, we supply a stand-alone radiator immediately for tenants to ensure they stay warm and happy. This ensures the tenant stays in the property and doesn’t refuse to pay rent on the grounds that the property is not habitable, claiming back the cost of living elsewhere until the heating is fixed.

Landlords who manage their property themselves often sign up with a gas supplier’s own service contract thinking this is the answer to central heating problems. But they often don’t realise that an engineer will only specify a morning or afternoon visit which makes it difficult for the tenant to stay in while they wait for the engineer. And in the middle of winter when services can be stretched to the limit, they may still have to wait several days before someone can come out and fix the problem.


Engineer Servicing Central Heating Boiler

Maintenance and repair of older properties

Surprisingly, repairs in older properties can be easier to sort out as appliances are not usually under warranty so we are free to use our own team of contractors who can usually sort out the problem quickly. Faulty boilers are one of the most common problems but we have a team of trusted Gas Safe engineers across London who we call on to carry out repairs. They, of course, also carry out annual Gas Safety checks for us. Washing machines break down relatively frequently too but again we rely on our network of trusted plumbers to sort out repairs for us quickly.

A team of trusted contractors

The key to efficient property management is using trusted contractors who we can call on at any time of the day or night. We have contractors local to each of our 13 letting branches who are on hand to deal with issues at the properties in their area, from plumbers to Gas Safe engineers, from electricians to general builders. Even in new  developments, over 70% of clients use our property management service.  And of course, many tenants will only rent a professionally managed property as it simply gives them more confidence that the property will be properly maintained and looked after and any problems quickly dealt with.

If you would like to find out more about our property management services, please call our dedicated property management department on 020 7319 9740 email info@benhams.com.

 

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About the Author

Marc has been a board director since 2001 and oversees the company’s rental operations as well as developing new business. He is instrumental in the company’s expansion and works closely with Managing Director Anita Mehra to develop its core services. Read more about Marc von Grundherr here - Read full profile

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