Landlords in York – how to avoid those costly home emergencies
Essential maintenance work for landlords in York doesn’t just take place in the run-up to winter – there are tasks to be done in spring too.
Indeed, it will be necessary to carry out the same level of work again – and with more tasks – to ensure a landlord can avoid any potential home emergencies that could cost a lot money.
Some landlords will also resent the fact they will be spending money to avoid costly bills but this cash will be an investment in the future profitability of the rental property.
Among the tasks that should be undertaken now is to make the property as energy efficient as it possibly can be.
There are several reasons for doing so, leaving aside that the work will bring lower energy bills for the tenant, including the fact that landlords will need to be aware of their obligations in providing an energy performance certificate (EPC).
This work will be crucial soon because ALL rental properties will need to be above a certain energy rating in order for tenants to move in.
Damp and cold homes will be illegal to let
This means that cold, damp and draughty rental homes will be illegal to rent out.
Currently, rental properties are scored on a scale of A to G for their energy performance, the lower the score and the more work needs to be done.
However, in 2018 the rules will change and all rental properties will need to be a minimum energy performance grade of E.
From April 2016, landlords should also be aware that they cannot refuse a tenant’s ‘reasonable’ request for energy efficiency work to be undertaken. The courts can also enforce improvement action to be carried out.
It makes sense as part of a landlord’s spring ‘to do’ list that they begin to appreciate what is necessary to meet the new regulations now rather than leaving it too late.
If you are a landlord in York and your property was built before 1990 then it’s highly likely, according to the Department for Energy and Climate Change, that yours will be among the 65% of the homes rated F and G for the EPC certificate.
Energy efficient rental homes are a worthwhile investment
On the positive side, a more energy efficient home will make the landlord’s investment far more attractive to potential tenants and will help avoid future maintenance issues.
The biggest issue with older homes, and poorly insulated properties, is with damp. Energy improvements will help make the home more comfortable and there are Government schemes to help.
Among these is the ‘Green Deal’ which is aimed at home owners but this also includes landlords.
Under the ‘deal, a landlord needs to arrange for an assessor to visit the rental property, report on what needs to be done and then have the tenant agree to the work and explain that their fuel bills will be lower as a result.
Landlords should also bear in mind that the tenant needs to give permission for an assessment to be carried out and they can also approach you to arrange one for them.
Another aspect to ensuring your maintenance bills are kept to a minimum is to buy the correct property to begin with.
Buying the right rental property investment
Having a low maintenance property will mean repairs will be minor so landlords who want worry-free rental property ownership should opt for new build or properties that have been built in the last few years.
However, on older properties this issue of avoiding home emergencies means that a landlord should look at the condition of the roof, the state and age of the boiler and the condition of the home’s electrics.
Check the double glazing for any misting or other problems and if there are wooden window frames in the property then consider replacing them.
Also check whether the garden has any trees, particularly those that are near to the property itself, since its roots could cause damage in the future.
The key to avoiding home emergencies for landlords in York is to tackle any repairs when they arise -delaying will only make the repair bill higher.
We state regularly on the Redmove letting agent’s blog that landlords in York should visit their property on a regular basis, at least twice a year, mainly to assess whether there is any decoration or maintenance work that needs to be undertaken.
What should landlords check on their property?
Landlords should also be checking for blocked drains and guttering, bathroom leaks including dripping taps and that the radiators do not need bleeding.
It’s also a good idea for a landlord to brief the tenant about what needs to be checked regularly because they don’t always realise what is expected from them.
For instance, a dripping tap may be seen as being inconsequential because it’s not really an inconvenience to a tenant and they may not want to trouble the landlord.
However, it’s these minor issues that the landlord needs to be informed about when they occur.
The next tip to avoiding home emergencies is for the landlord to have a list of contact numbers for reliable tradesmen.
Obviously, if a landlord is using an excellent letting agents in York such as Redmove then we can take care of this side of things.
A landlord’s responsibilities to avoid home emergencies
There’s no doubt that a landlord has more to do than tenants and many critics give them credit for – and when it comes to avoiding home emergencies they need to stay ahead of the game.
Landlords should realise that having regular property checks and tackling the minor issues we have raised above will mean that they will avoid emotional and financial problems.
According to British Gas, 37% of home emergencies involve the boiler and 30% are for blocked drains. Another 21% are for electrical faults. These cost, on average, £542 to fix.
There’s no doubt that responding quickly to tenant complaints is a money-saving thing to do. All good landlords will respond quickly anyway and remember that skimping on repairs and maintenance is often a false economy.
Another issue that often goes unrecognised, even with landlords in York, is the problem with flooding.
Some parts of York do have issues with flooding and it’s crucial that landlords get the correct insurance cover. Landlords will need to ensure the insurance policy will pay out for flooding damage to the property – and pay for alternative accommodation while repairs are carried out.
Landlords in York may have to deal with vermin
Finally, another home emergency that will prompt an immediate reaction from the landlord or letting in York is that of vermin.
Tenants will undoubtedly be upset and landlords shouldn’t really try to blame a previous tenant for the problem – and remember too that vermin are unlikely to be mentioned in the tenancy agreement.
If it isn’t mentioned then it is definitely a landlord’s problem to resolve – if it is a furnished property then the tenant is entitled to leave and live somewhere else until the problem has been fixed – probably at the landlord’s expense.
That’s because a landlord is obliged to provide a home that is safe and fit for tenants to live in.
However, if the tenant is responsible for the vermin, for instance not disposing of rubbish correctly, then it is the tenant’s responsibility to get rid of the problem.
If you have any issue with vermin, contact the local authority or a specialist firm that deals with vermin infestation.
One of the strengths for using a letting agent in York is that they can look after the property on the landlord’s behalf and ensure minor maintenance issues do not escalate into major ones.
The bottom line, is that their letting agent will dedicate themselves to ensuring that the rental property investment not only holds its value but delivers the expected yields and returns that a landlord is hoping for.
Redmove is a leading York letting agent and happy to share our experience and expertise. If you have any questions about letting a rental property in York and would like to know what to do, then please contact us.