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Why it’s important to respond quickly to repairs requests

Fri 24 Aug 2018

As we know, the landlord-tenant relationship is crucial when it comes to a successful tenancy. Get this right and, all being well, everything should run fairly smoothly. A steady stream of rental income will be guaranteed, your tenants will be more likely to stay for the long-term and your chances of achieving impressive rental yields will be higher.

One way in which you can help to build a strong relationship with those living in your rental property is by responding quickly to repairs requests and carrying out the necessary maintenance in a reasonable amount of time.

Here, using our experience as West Lothian’s first dedicated lettings agency, we look at how responding fast to repairs requests can help you to be a successful landlord and attract long-term tenants.

A proactive approach

While keeping your home well-maintained and in excellent condition will be high on your list of priorities, it’s an inevitable fact of life that things will get broken and damaged through the course of a tenancy.

It’s how you respond to this that can make the difference between happy long-term tenants and more frustrated ones. Being proactive, and responding quickly to any requests or complaints, can make all the difference. It will make your tenants feel valued and looked after, as well as protecting your investment and saving you and your tenants’ money.

The longer a problem is left to fester, the more expensive and difficult the repair is likely to be. So stepping in early is always a good idea. Take the maintenance issues out of their hands and respond thoroughly and promptly. This is when a good, reliable agent becomes very useful, taking on the job of organising maintenance and repairs on your behalf.

When it comes to things like damp and mould, preventative maintenance can be the best way of saving time and money. If a damp issue is nipped in the bud early, it’s unlikely to turn into a bigger issue that could prove trickier to remedy.

A quick response

The most common repairs requests will be for boilers, baths, showers and toilets. Naturally, an issue with any of these things – in particular the boiler and toilet – will require fairly immediately attention.

Other repairs might not be as pressing, but – once reported – it’s good if you can seek to resolve the issue in a matter of days. Some issues will take longer to resolve, but as a general rule responding promptly to repairs requests will play well with tenants.

Even routine problems should be fixed in a reasonable amount of time. You certainly shouldn’t be leaving tenants waiting for more than a month, or months on end. This is only likely to breed discontent and frustration.

If, for one reason or another, an issue can’t be fixed straightaway, maintaining an avenue of communication with your tenants to keep them updated on the situation – and giving them a rough timescale on when the repairs can be carried out – is likely to bat away any dissatisfaction.

A mutually beneficial relationship

As we said before, dealing with maintenance issues in a fast, efficient manner will endear you to your tenants. To give you more time to focus on expanding your portfolio, you can pass the responsibility of repairs/maintenance to your letting agent – safe in the knowledge that they have things covered and will keep tenants up to date.

What’s more, if your tenants know that you deal with repairs quickly, they are more likely to report issues that could cause problems at a later date if they are not remedied now. This could save you plenty of time and money in the long-run.    

Obviously, there are limits. You shouldn’t, for example, be expected to drop everything to repair a broken handle in the kitchen or a slightly wonky shelf in the lounge, but any major repairs should be carried out quickly and the quicker you can fix routine problems, the happier your tenants are likely to be.

The risks of poor maintenance

There are a number of reasons why failing to keep your property in a good state of repair is a bad idea. For one, it means you could lose existing tenants or put new tenants off. It could also prove costly if you had to pay out lots to remedy issues which have been left unattended for months or even years.

Additionally, you could be putting the welfare and health and safety of your tenants at risk, as well as negatively impacting on the sell-on potential of your home if you decide to exit the market.

Failing to deal with maintenance issues adequately can also lead to hefty fines and, in the worst cases, suspended sentences and even prison. In the most severe cases of non-compliance you could be fined heavily or prosecuted by your local authority, so it’s not something you will get away with and not something that you should treat lightly.

We understand that keeping on top of maintenance and carrying out repairs can be quite a daunting prospect – especially if you have more than one rental property – which is where an experienced letting agent comes into play.

Here at Letting Solutions we can help manage all aspects of your tenancies, carrying out repairs and maintenance, offering a 7-day/24-hour emergency service and dealing with tenant enquiries via our Monday to Friday Helpline.

Once a tenancy has finished, we will also organise any repairs if they are required. For more information about letting your property in West Lothian, please get in touch with Letting Solutions on 01506 496 006.

We have the skills and knowledge to help maximise your rental yields and keep your tenants safe, secure and happy.

We also offer a free and instant online valuation to give you an idea of how much you could be charging in rent each month.