As a landlord, you rely on contractors to carry out work on your properties professionally, promptly and at the best price.
Perhaps more importantly is that work is carried out in line with current laws and regulations, as failure to do so can render your insurance invalidated and leave you liable should a tenant injures themselves.
At Abode, we know how hard it can be to find reliable tradesmen in the landlord market. We work with a range of trusted contractors that we know personally, some of which we've been working in partnership with for over 10 years.
In our latest blog post, we’ll run through the attributes of a good contractor - as well as a few tell-tale signs that you might be dealing with a rogue tradesman.
Check (and verify) The Reviews
When looking for a contractor online, the first thing most people notice is their Google reviews. Whilst this is a good place to start, it’s not the be all and end all. Here are a few other places you can find independent feedback (note that not all tradesman will feature on all of these platforms):
- Facebook Business Pages.
- Which? Trusted Traders.co.uk.
- Independent testimonials on their website.
- Glassdoor – here you can read reviews from employees about working in the company, useful for gaining insight on how larger contractors operate internally.
Be sure to scroll through the reviews and make sure they look legit, if there’s a lot of 5-star reviews with no message, or reviews from people who work at the company, it could be that they are not so great after all.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask them if you can have a conversation with one of their existing or previous customers - a working relationship with a portfolio landlord can be very lucrative for tradesmen so if they value your business, they should have no issue in providing you with some contact details to verify their testimonials and reviews.
Check Their Accreditations
Be sure to check contractors have the relevant industry accreditations before agreeing to work with them, some of the most common accreditations across different industries include:
- Electrical Safety Register
- Considerate Constructors
- Gas Safe Register
- Master Locksmiths Association
Like reviews, be sure to double check that the accreditations are legitimate; you can usually do this using a search function on the official accreditation websites.
To avoid frustration, you need to ensure the contractor is the right fit for your business before using them, some questions you can ask might include:
- Do you have a 24 hour emergency contact number?
- Do you have the staff / resources to deal with ‘X’ amount of properties?
- Are you comfortable dealing with tenants on my behalf?
- How do you handle your data? (GDPR)
- What is your process for carrying out work?
- Are you open on bank holidays?
Much like you screen and interview your potential tenants, it might be worth meeting your contractors to ask these questions before agreeing to work with them.
Know How to Spot A Rogue Trader
Being stung by a rogue trader can be even more dangerous for landlords, with poor work leaving them liable to fines and legal action should a tenant be injured. Here are some tell-tale signs that the person you’re dealing with is a rogue trader:
- Cash only - If it’s the only way, make sure you get a receipt / proof of payment.
- Urgency – If the contractor is desperate to get your work, it could be a sign that they aren’t getting much work anywhere else.
- Pushy sales – As above, if a contractor values your custom, they will be patient and respect your decision.
- No quotes provided – Ask for estimates before agreeing to work with them.
- Cheap as chips - Like wine, the cheapest contractor is certainly not the best.
Hassle Free Property Maintenance with Abode
At Abode, our fully managed property management service for landlords includes the arrangement of routine property maintenance and any relevant tests, risk assessments and installations that need to be carried out to keep you compliant.
Abode have a list of trusted contractors that specialise in the buy-to-let market, some of which we have formed relationships with over many years. These relationships allow us to get the job done quickly and at the best price for our landlords.
If you want to find out more about our fully managed service for landlords, give us a call today 0117 973 8866 or fill out a contact form and we’ll get back to you.