Repairs and Maintenance, Insurance and Consents

Published on 2015-08-15

Agents have a duty to ensure landlords understand the scope of the property manager’s duties so they can manage the property efficiently. The property manager must ensure the statutory requirements placed on the landlord are fulfilled. Property management is not about organising refurbishment or major works which are typically the landlord’s responsibility. The focus is on maintenance and repairs required to the property, fixtures, fittings or furniture.

Managing agents have a duty to respond promptly to reported problems and spend clients’ money wisely. They must also keep records of all instructions, repairs and maintenance carried out.

Liabilities

The liability for work and repairs may be that of the landlord or the tenant. The tenancy agreement should outline the responsibilities of the parties relating to repairs and maintenance. Tenants have obligations to report problems relating to the property and have the right to expect the property to be maintained throughout the tenancy. For example, a landlord would be liable for repairing wet rot to a window frame. However, if the tenant failed to report this and, as a result, the problem worsened, the tenant could be held partly liable for the cost of repair.

Managing agents have a duty to ensure that guarantees, warranties and service contracts are utilised. Tenants should be given instruction manuals for any appliances supplied.

Property managers must ensure tenants know what to do if there is an emergency outside office hours.

Instructing Contractors

Property managers should ensure that appointed contractors meet their requirements e.g. have up to date public liability insurance, are appropriately qualified etc. They should confirm the process of payment i.e. how it will be made, when it will be made and whether that is after confirmation that the work was carried out satisfactorily, and that a relevant and detailed invoice is required.

Contractors should have current insurance and up-to-date membership registrations. Gas and electric contractors are required to be members of their approved bodies. Contractors should be given clear written directions regarding work required. It may be that an investigation or estimate is required prior to undertaking a repair and this must be specified at the time.

Property managers should check that work by contractors is completed satisfactorily before authorising payment. This could be via the tenant for minor items or may require a visit by the property manager to personally inspect the standard of the work undertaken.

A landlord may be able to claim under their insurance policy for an issue at their property. It is the property manager’s duty to ascertain this. They should be aware of whether they are authorised to process insurance claims. The managing agent must follow the instructions of the insurance company who often have preferred contractors.

Periodic Inspections

Property visits to establish the tenants are looking after the property should be conducted in line with the requirements in the agent’s terms of business. Tenants must give consent for these visits.

For certain work, building regulation consent or planning permission is needed.

Electrical Work

Regulations apply to electrical work classed as notifiable and/ or in a special location. This work must be carried out by someone who is registered or by a competent person (registered with an approved self-certification scheme) or someone registered with the local authority’s building control department.

Categories: Residential Lettings Property Management