Tenants are piling pressure on landlords to fix a multitude of minor jobs, with boiler repairs and general wear and tear maintenance on the increase as a result of the trend to work from home.
“In the last few years, we have witnessed people being more cautious and trying to reign in their spending,” director Callum Lee (main picture) at Adam Lee Property Maintenance tells LandlordZONE.
“At the same time, we’ve never been busier as tenants are spending more time working from home and noticing when things go wrong.
“They’re also very quick to point this out to landlords, while pre-Covid, they might not have been so bothered about that wobbly door handle.”
The north-west London-based property maintenance firm deals with everything from same-day small plumbing, heating and electrical jobs to major refurbs and new builds, working with landlords, estate agents and management companies.
“Rising labour and materials costs – sometimes by as much as 40% in the last couple of years – as well as a shortage of skilled labour are hitting home across the maintenance sector, he adds.
“It’s hard to get a workman to drive across London, to pay the congestion charge and parking, and do a small job, but this is what tenants want done.”
Despite this, many landlords are grateful they’ve got good tenants and are now often more open to agreeing to get work done, says Lee who’s currently dealing with a list of more than 70 maintenance issues pointed out by one very new tenant, of which 75% are “very picky” – but he reckons the landlord will probably agree to fix them all.
However, there will always be those who are reluctant to spend any more than they have to, and insist tradesmen should patch up a shower leak with silicon rather than spend more to investigate the problem.
“Sometimes we’ll get a call a few months later from the landlord saying the leak has come back and our work wasn’t good enough. We have to be diplomatic,” Lee adds ruefully.
Property maintenance boss reveals challenges of higher material costs AND more tenants WFH is written by Helen Gregory for www.landlordzone.co.uk