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A £1.7bn Lesson For Letting Agents

Property Technology Blog

A few weeks ago the UK was landed with a £1.7bn bill from Brussels after a review of EU members’ economic performance since 1995.

For most, including the Chancellor and the Prime Minister, this news came as a surprise.  Surely they should have known…

According to various mainstream news sources, although Treasury officials had been made aware of the proposed charges earlier in the month a junior civil servant had failed to pass on the news to the Chancellor or to any of his staff.

It is difficult to understand how a message of such clear importance was not immediately passed on to the right people. 

But at the same time, we all know it can happen.

You take another call or write a note on a piece a paper and as time passes the details of the message are forgotten or the note is misplaced. 

The scope for error extends beyond a lapse in memory.  One slip of the finger and a voicemail is accidentally deleted.

In the political context, a lost message resulted in a large unexpected bill, strained relationships and a loss of face.

In the context of property management the result can be the same…

Property management teams work in an environment where they are under constant pressure from a number of directions.

Whether it is from the tenant who wants their issues to be resolved immediately; a contractor who needs constant reminding of upcoming jobs; or a landlord who views every deduction from a rental statement as a result of service failure by their instructed property manager.
This pressure can easily lead to repairs being missed or remedial action being delayed. 

When you are dealing with issues at one person’s home which is also a different person’s main asset it is always personal.

In our repairs survey undertaken earlier this year, 56% of the property managers surveyed knew of a landlord who had changed letting agent because of an issue relating to a repair. 

How many of those could have been related to a message not being passed on or an issue that was left to get worse?

From an operation and compliance perspective, it’s worth noting that The Property Ombudsman Code of Practice For Residential Letting Agents (August 2014) has been adopted by ARLA and states that:

You must keep clear and full written (*) records (*) of your relationship with landlords and tenants for at least six years. Those records must be produced when required by the Ombudsman.

The expectation is now that reputable agents will not only act correctly but be able to evidence that they have done so.

A few years ago the only practical way of dealing with repair requests was to ask you tenant to call.

Now, with over three quarters of the UK population owning a Smartphone you can take advantage of online technologies to enhance and protect your business.

While taking a repair request by phone may feel like a time-saver in the short term, what problems could you be storing up for your business in the future? 

Fixflo in a Nutshell

Fixflo supplies letting agencies and property managers with market leading property software systems for managing repairs. By having a Fixflo system you can:

  • deliver repairs more quickly
  • deliver repairs more efficiently
  • have clear records for every repair request

To try the Fixflo tenant repair reporting system click here or for more information contact us.

Zahraa Valu

Written by Zahraa Valu

ARLA propertymark | Property Ombudsman | Repairs and Maintenance Software

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