LET’S talk about repairs. The bane of every landlord’s life – some days it can feel as though the only contact you have with your tenant or managing agent is via one repairs report or another. But while they might be a pain point, the whole success or failure of a tenancy can hinge on how they’re managed. While it might not take the pain away completely, providing your tenants with the means to capture and communicate all the details of their repairs requirement in one place will definitely minimise it. Here’s where a pre-prepared repairs request template comes in.
What should a repairs report template include?
Your repair reports should include the following:
- What is the problem your repairs request relates to? (problems should be displayed pictorially for ease of reference).
- How serious is your concern?
- Can you upload your own photo / video of the issue? (Working with images and providing uploading opportunities is a way to broaden the template’s appeal to those with additional needs or for whom English isn’t the first language).
- How long has this problem persisted for?
- What is the address of the property the problem pertains to?
- Please could you provide your preferred contact details
These are by no means exhaustive but should provide a comprehensive picture of what the repairs request relates to, how serious it is and how to contact the tenant and access the property to resolve it.
Record Keeping Protects You from Future Disputes
It is impossible to overstress the importance of keeping an audit trail of all communications had with the tenant. Tenant resources such as Shelter and Citizens Advice advise tenants to keep a written record of any interaction they have with their landlords, take photographs of repairs issues and date and log all calls. It is vital landlords do the same, as these records will be invaluable if any dispute over repairs escalates.
Written records of interactions around repairs are also particularly relevant given last year’s Property Ombudsman (TPO) changes around repairs and maintenance, which included obligating landlords to provide a 24/7 repairs and maintenance reporting service, even out of hours. It also specified that landlords had to take special measures for tenants with additional needs or for whom English was not the first language. Ensuring you’ve got a well-documented audit trail to prove you’ve done this is the best way to protect yourself and your property – it’s no longer enough to carry out a repair, you’ve got to provide evidence you’ve done so.
Automated Reporting & Record Keeping
Fixflo is comes with a Repair Reporting module which basically does all these, and much more. Use our lighter, Basic version for compliant repair reporting or our more advanced versions as a complete repairs & maintenance management system. You can even integrate our tool with your PMS for a seamless and powerful maintenance management process.
For more information on TPO and the recent changes, check out this FREE resource for letting agents and property managers.