Repairs and maintenance in 2024: Perspectives from property managers

Jonty Shepheard

By Jonty Shepheard

11 March 2024

Following the release of our Repairs and maintenance management report for UK lettings in January, we spoke to property managers Matt Mouat (Western Lettings) and Joseph Bassom (Robinson-Jackson) to get their thoughts on the report and how they ensure efficient repairs and maintenance and fast response times.

Repairing sink


Data gathered for our report showed that, on average, 38% of repairs and maintenance issues are reported outside of regular office hours. Joseph and Matt were both surprised at just how high this number was, but it’s true: agents must have a strong out-of-hours response and processes that ensure problems are fixed in a timely manner, even if they are reported at weekends or at night.


Out-of-hours repairs_infographic v2


What processes can you put into place to ensure smoother out-of-hours repairs?

Matt’s approach to out-of-hours repairs is designed to cover all bases. He explained that any calls out-of-hours go to a voicemail that provides options for the tenant to connect directly to a contractor depending on the type of issue they are experiencing. Matt also noted how they created a rule using Fixflo’s Co-pilot automation feature to assign issues to a relevant contractor based on priority. 

Joseph and Robinson-Jackson use Novex, an out-of-hours call-handling service that can be accessed through Fixflo’s Contractor Marketplace. When his team get into the office in the morning, they review the most urgent issues in a meeting and decide how they should be resolved. Joseph uses a number of Fixflo dashboards for contractors, allowing them to keep track of workload and job status.


How to protect your landlords’ properties by boosting emergency response times


Emergency repairs in the UK


Our report found that the most commonly reported emergency issue category was water and leaks, followed by alarms and smoke detectors, and electricity. These types of issues can quickly result in damage to the property if allowed to linger, so a fast, efficient response is vital to prevent escalation.

As an ex-tradesperson himself, Joseph emphasised the value of building strong relationships with contractors. Something as small as regular phone calls or bringing contractors to the office and providing refreshments can really help to build trust and ensure they are seen as people and not just a resource. Strong relationships will ensure your chosen contractors can be relied on when you’re in a tight spot and the minutes matter. Having a basic understanding of common property issues and what you’re asking a tradesperson to do can also build trust.

When it comes to choosing contractors, Robinson-Jackson keeps a minimum of three favoured contractors per trade: gas, electric and plumbing. This covers all bases and ensures someone is always on hand when they are needed, no matter the problem. In seasons such as winter, where increased use of heating can cause a spike in issues, this number can be as high as five.

“Investing in your contractors goes a long way” - Joseph Bassom, Head of Property Management, Robinson-Jackson

Matt has a meeting every morning with his team to discuss any emergencies that come in overnight. He keeps an eye on a Fixflo dashboard showing fault priority and discusses how to tackle those which are the most urgent. This is particularly helpful for anything that is complex and needs breaking down to determine the best approach. Some emergencies will remain on the dashboard for a few days, so the meeting provides the opportunity to follow up on these and learn what has happened. The approach Western Lettings takes to out-of-hours responses, the combination of Co-pilot and voicemail, also works for delivering swift emergency response times.

Optimising emergency communications between landlords, tenants and contractors

Matt agreed with Joseph on the importance of building strong relationships with contractors and understanding how they operate. Matt onboards new contractors by providing them with a document that explains Western Lettings’ processes even down to the details of when payment runs occur.

Proof of service is important for selecting trustworthy contractors who can be relied upon in emergency situations where a fast response is vital. 

“With contractors, it’s really important to have a clear understanding from the offset of how each other work” - Matt Mouat, Compliance Manager, Western Lettings

No matter the severity of the issue, when an emergency occurs, Joseph and his team follow three simple steps: Contact the landlord, communicate with the tenant, and put a contractor on standby. They chase these three steps through to completion, so a contractor is ready to go as soon as enough information has been established to arrange a visit.

Managing expectations is key for all parties involved — there is nothing worse than overpromising and under delivering. When communicating with tenants, give them realistic times for when a contractor would be expected to arrive at the property. Landlords need an understanding of the costs involved, while contractors need a good idea of what they’re walking into so they can ensure they bring the right tools and resources.


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Jonty Shepheard

On the rare occasion Jonty isn't at her keyboard, she can be found making coffee, reading fantasy or road-tripping – ideally some combination of all three.

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This article is intended for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions related to issues in this article, we strongly advise contacting a legal professional.
These blog posts are the work of Fixflo and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. In summary, you are welcome to re-publish any of these blog posts but are asked to attribute Fixflo with an appropriate link to Access to this blog is allowed only subject to the acceptance of these terms.

Jonty Shepheard

By Jonty Shepheard

11 March 2024

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