Landlords’ legal obligations to property repair have been an issue for decades. Tenants’ concerns and rights are ignored at the landlord’s peril with the possibility of both legal and increasing repair costs.
Tenants do have rights but only if they follow correct procedures.
The Citizen advice bureau is the first call for disgruntled tenants. Landlords need to be aware of the type of advice being given so they are better prepared.
With great improvements in technology, the old proverb ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ has never been so true for property repairs. Property management systems can solve many of the problems surrounding property repair automatically. So why bother hand stitching when you can have property management software to do the work for you?
Most landlords will be comfortable with the basic outline of what their responsibilities are when it comes to property repair but not how property management software can help foresee and eliminate potential problems.
Generally, in written tenancy contracts, the landlord should specify the areas of responsibility for repairs under an express term. However there are specific areas of the house, such as: water and gas pipes, electricity lines and the property’s exterior, which are always the responsibility of the landlord.
Full details are outlined in Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. Importantly there is no legal way of passing on the cost to tenants and so precautions should be taken to make sure this obligation cannot be used against you.
Property management software such as Arthur online allows tenancy agreements and other documents to store on a mobile platform for easy access by both landlords and tenants. This means that there are no arguments as to who should repair certain areas or items around the property as both parties can settle at anytime.
With an inbuilt tenant workorder tracking and messaging system, property management software helps facilitate great communication between a landlord and tenants. Being open and available to communicate about repairs can result in greater leniency from the tenant especially with non-emergencies.
In extreme circumstances where there could be injury to the tenants caused by defects in the property, ignorance does not fully protect landlords from the law and repairs you ‘ought to have known about’ are still your responsibility.
Of course, letting a property get to this stage of disrepair is disadvantageous to both tenant and landlord. But equally, it is beneficial for both parties to be alert to repairs and act quickly. In some circumstances tenants are also liable to extra costs if they do not notify their landlord of a repair that becomes more expensive to rectify later.
Property management software with a specific tenant app, such as Arthur, allows contact to be regular, immediate and professional. By offering a mobile platform for communication it means repairs can be sorted out more quickly and at less expense meaning everybody benefits.
For most other repairs, landlords are not legally obliged to act until tenants have notified them. This system is logical in principal but can be exceptionally frustrating if the worst were to happen and legal action needs to be taken. Proving the content of a phone call is notoriously impossible and Citizens Advice recommend following every communication up with a traceable, written copy.
Rather than worrying about this additional hassle, some property management software such as Arthur online have inbuilt messaging systems that allow all communication to be found in one place as well as recorded, saved and backed up in the cloud. This makes solid legal practise an automatic occurrence and tasks such as giving 24-hour notice for property entry are simple and reliable.
Another way in which systems such as Arthur online benefits landlords is the ability for tenants to upload photos. Taking photos to help document repairs, a practise also recommended by Citizens Advice, not only makes it easier for the landlord to assess the severity of the problem but also for a contractor to do the same, produce a quote and start repairs. With quality property management software such as Arthur online, contractors are also given a bespoke account meaning they can respond to jobs immediately as well as communicate with the landlords (and tenants, once the job is accepted). This speeds up repair time and reduces the amount of surrounding administration.
Tenants can also track the progress of the repair through their own account that is automatically updated when a contractor has been accepted and when the work will take place. This means that the property management system replaces the landlord as the middleman and all parties can see the repair in progress.
Property management systems offer a huge range of functions that improve the way landlords and tenants can deal with repairs; from making sure that communication is instant and simple yet legally secure, to giving tenants and contractors their own bespoke accounts to raise, track and update progress of repair work.
Property management software solves problems, so you do not have to.
Article Courtesy of: Arthur Online