Research by PlanetRent reveals that the number one gripe small landlords have with their rental properties is being given grief by tenants, who often have unrealistic expectations around repairs.
Any astute landlord knows that if they ignore a repair, more often than not the cost of fixing the problem is going to escalate. So it is rarely the avoidance of repairs that causes problems but the hassle of arranging everything – as well as the need to temper tenants’ expectations.
Put simply, a landlord lets and a tenant rents a property (almost always) in good faith, on the understanding that each will behave responsibly: the tenant will protect the landlord’s property and in return, the landlord keeps things in working order. That said, things do break down, wear out, stop working, or need replacing.
A savvy landlord will have a service level agreement in place. He or she will ensure that this is pre-advised to tenants before they move in to help manage expectations should anything go awry. A rental property is not a hotel; there is rarely a 24-hour in-house maintenance engineer in post, and contractors will want to turn up on a weekday, during working hours. Tenants must be realistic and appreciate that this will be the case – they too have a part to play in getting things fixed.
In our litigious culture, all too often the consumer will seek compensation for this or that. However, even the rail companies don’t pay out until a train is running late. A landlord service level agreement serves the same purpose. PlanetRent provides a service level agreement by way of target response times for the 45 most common rental repair issues as part of its tailor-made tenancy journey.
This is shared with tenants via email when they move in, on their tenant portal and when they log a repair, it has a ‘target date’ set by the landlord. All of this is a way of managing tenant’s expectations as well as demonstrating that, as a landlord, one is acting reasonably while protecting the landlord’s position.
Next week, we will look at PlanetRent’s fully-automated photo reporting repairs process, making all contact with contractors completely transparent for both landlord and tenant.
PlanetRent is brought to you by The Ringley Group which has more than 20 years of expertise in managing thousands of properties.