Looking for a very honest opinion

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    Looking for a very honest opinion

    Good evening all,

    I am here to cast my view on a matter I feel very strongly about. I’m sorry if this turns out a long post.
    I own a maintenance company. I have spent 12 years working hard with my team to create a company that truely cares. First and foremost I care about landlords assets, the condition of the building and prevention over cure. I care about the tenants, the condition they live in, how they treat the property and I spend an awful lot of time dishing out advice!
    The bulk of our residential work comes, as you can imagine, from letting agents. I try to work only with agents who don’t add a commission to my bills but I must say, I am astounded at the fees landlords are charged in addition!!
    I started out as a letting agent many years ago and it wasn’t for me. Maintenance is my absolute passion. My team are all fully qualified and I always hire someone with a specific qualified trade to enhance our multi trade services.

    I have recently found myself questioning how these fully managed systems work.
    So many agents are not actually trained to spot maintenance issues , they don’t care with the same passion as I do and more importantly they aren’t concerned about costs to tenants or landlords. You get a different contractor a lot of the time and the history of the property is rarely known.
    Now, I’m not suggesting that agents are rouge but the market is saturated and the past 5 years I’ve felt a real shift in the level of professionalism and it seems everywhere you turn there is a middle man wanting a slice of the pie! Project management fees are my biggest gripe! I’m yet to see an agent turn up to monitor a refurb let alone remember to ask landlords what colours they’d like the walls!

    We started an affordable service 3 years ago whereby agents could promote to their landlords an annual inspection carried out by real tradesmen, real trained eyes to inspect and touch pipe work, to clamber into attics and check roofs or look for signs of rodents! To date only one agent has taken us up on this service and I now feel like it’s because they don’t understand that looking for signs or damp goes far beyond a black spot on the walls. I see inventories that are completed in house to such poor standards that I wonder if they’d ever hold up in court. My private landlords on the other hand, love the tailored services and really take advantage of them.

    I’m considering a sister company to our maintenance firm that is able to take on and manage maintenance, inventories, check out maintenance with advisories and everything else to keep your assets safe. My question is, how likely would you be as a landlord to split your tenancies between rent collection / find a tenant service and a company like mine that is willing to handle and liaise on all things maintenance?
    As a business woman and a very down to earth human being I just feel like the industry is too focused on selling these services without really understanding what it means to protect property, to care and to really understand the needs of landlords who come in all shapes and sizes. I’m also not in it to charge ridiculous fees, I want people to have value for money and know that your building isn’t just a number on a spreadsheet.

    Any opinions are warmly welcomed and I would really value your feedback.


    #2
    I think yours sounds like an amazing service!

    I agree that many agents can't see beyond rent collection! I always visit my properties between tenants because I can't rely on an agent to see the maintenance issues that I can (and I'm no professional!). The service you describe is what agents' inspections should be but often aren't but as I am already paying a for full maintenance I wouldn't be prepared to pay again for it I just fill the gap myself.

    Comment


      #3
      I know a lot of landlords who want a decent maintenance person and are sick of paying through the nose for small jobs. One handyman wanted to charge an old lady £40 to change a lightbulb - and that was around 10 years ago! Ridiculous!

      Somebody ie one person, who could change an electric socket, fix a wooden gate, change the thermostat on a radiator, garden maintenance, rubbish removal, or put in a new bath or toilet would be great, rather than sending in a different person for each task. But that same person wouldn't have to do major or specialist work.

      Comment


        #4
        Sadly, I trust very few workman. I always do thorough inspections of my own properties. I don't use agencies to manage my properties. I have seen too many examples of shoddy workmanship and massively inflated repair bills. My uncle was repeatedly billed for boiler repairs, several hundred pounds at a time. The boiler was only a few years old. I experience tradesmen who try to pull the wool over my eyes all the time. It is shocking.

        Recently I visited a friend at a property that I used to own. I sold to an investor who uses a managing agent and she has been his tenant for 8 years now. The agents sent round a tradesman to inspect the bathroom floor tiles. They needed replacing. Whilst at the property the workman spotted a small spec of rust on the enamel bath. He said to my friend - oh, you need a new bath. She said, no, that's nothing to worry about. With that he took a screwdriver and a hammer and forced a hole. End result, my friend has a new bath, floor and wall tiles. The replacement bath is a cheap flimsy plastic bath and the work took a full week. I think the agency is taking the P out of the landlord. My friend is now dreading a rent increase rent increase.

        Comment


          #5
          The above post is why i manage my own and get my own tradespeople i trust to do any work, i am lucky that i live near my properties, if i had not ..... i would not have purchased them, simple as.

          Comment


            #6
            Oh I completely agree claymore, there are a huge number of cowboys around. I get very angry when we are called into rectify other tradesmen work and I never understand people who still touch electrics with no qualification to do so, it’s actually scary.
            Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure we aren’t perfect and we make mistakes but we do apply the rule of of it’s not on the list you don’t touch it. We place recommendations if relevant and warranted but I see it all too often where tradesmen have caused damage carrying out some unwarranted inspection to charge for more work.

            I think this is why I’m so passionate about it. I can see how much landlords are losing as a result of poor management on both ends in particular those with large portfolios and it is quite a frightening trade to be in. We have to constantly prove we’re trustworthy and equally we have a duty to ensure we act in the best interest of everyone involved whilst trying to maintain good customer service and be reasonably priced.

            I had a call today that some render had fallen from a gable end and another contractor went out and started smashing it off in the rain. The agent was near to tears that she’d had the landlord raging. I said the landlord is perfectly right you don’t cause more damage and try to hack off a whole wall when it just needed a minor repair! Some days I think I should give up lol.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by QOM View Post

              I had a call today that some render had fallen from a gable end and another contractor went out and started smashing it off in the rain. The agent was near to tears that she’d had the landlord raging. I said the landlord is perfectly right you don’t cause more damage and try to hack off a whole wall when it just needed a minor repair! Some days I think I should give up lol.
              If i were the LL and had not given permission to ' hack off '' the rest of the render then i would be putting a call into the Police for a crime of criminal damage to be put in and i would want someone arrested.

              Comment


                #8
                Contributing as a spark, I only work on tenanted properties when I’m detailing directly with the LL

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Hudson01 View Post
                  The above post is why i manage my own and get my own tradespeople i trust to do any work, i am lucky that i live near my properties, if i had not ..... i would not have purchased them, simple as.
                  My father has the same outlook. I know it’s not always possible to be nearby but I do feel the age old way of doing business and being loyal to your customers is a bit of a dying art.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    So many agents are not actually trained to spot maintenance issues , they don’t care with the same passion as I do and more importantly they aren’t concerned about costs to tenants or landlords


                    I would give your post a gold star.

                    I agree, but that is down the lack of experience. One way, would be for your company to invite the letting agent, to see the work as they are being done. A 20 year old won't know much about anything.



                    check out maintenance with advisories

                    I am not sure how useful this would be.

                    May be you can offer this service when a gas safety check is being done....



                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Flashback1966 View Post
                      So many agents are not actually trained to spot maintenance issues , they don’t care with the same passion as I do and more importantly they aren’t concerned about costs to tenants or landlords


                      I would give your post a gold star.

                      I agree, but that is down the lack of experience. One way, would be for your company to invite the letting agent, to see the work as they are being done. A 20 year old won't know much about anything.


                      check out maintenance with advisories

                      I am not sure how useful this would be.

                      May be you can offer this service when a gas safety check is being done....



                      100% agreed. Too many think it’s not their job. I think it could be a good Avenue though to try and encourage more to come and view problems. I took one girl out to see what it was to tank a wall and she always asks for advice now and wants to get involved. Sadly her manager doesn’t let her out the office and I think share the wisdom folks!!
                      That’s a good shout, tie it all in!

                      Comment

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