What ‘When the Landlords Move In’ Can Teach Us About Repair Reporting

Zahraa Valu

By Zahraa Valu

07 August 2017

TV show ‘When the Landlords Move In’ makes for some carcrash viewing, but it also has some valuable lessons to teach landlords and letting agents about repairs reporting too.

The show, which forces hands-off landlords to experience life on the other side of the tenancy agreement, runs the full gambit of TV tears and tantrums. Not to mention dodgy landlords, terrified tenants, mould and mice infestations.

But the key takeaway is that it isn’t just rodent infestations that smell like a rat. the show is awash with landlords trying to wriggle out of repairs responsibility, dodge tenant issues and in some cases, planning to evict the tenant to avoid the issue.

It's little wonder then that 41 per cent of people (the equivalent of 1.85 million households) polled by Citizens Advice put off reporting repairs because they are frightened of eviction. [1] The same survey also showed that 57 per cent wouldn’t push overdue repairs for that very same reason.

This culture of tenants being too frightened to report repairs is increasingly dangerous. So what’s the solution?

What lessons can we learn from the program?

The importance of a fully managed lettings service

The resounding message of the program was the fear tenants felt about contacting their landlords. Since one of the most vital things in every repairs and maintenance issue is the swiftness of reporting a repair, it’s vital that tenants don’t feel scared.

By implementing a fully managed lettings services, all personalities – and personality clashes – are removed from the equation. Both tenant and landlord have to communicate through the lettings agent. This leads to a formalisation of the relationship, eradicating tenant fears about contacting a volatile or unreliable landlord.

The role that repairs and maintenance software has to play

One of the other issues highlighted by the programme was how long tenants have to wait for their landlord to complete the repairs process. This ties in with findings from the Citizens Advice survey, which discovered two in five tenants wait longer than they should for landlords to deal with their repairs and maintenance concerns. (Private landlords have a legal responsibility to fix problems within a reasonable time – typically a month or less; 24 hours for more severe issues.)

Repairs and maintenance software, which allows tenants to log concerns online and be guaranteed of an immediate response, is one way to tackle this issue.

By managing concerns online, tenants can track the repair’s progress, which adds transparency to a process that some tenants find frustrating. This around the clock approach (concerns can be reported 24/7) should aid better communication between tenant and agent/landlord, which should eradicate tenant fear of eviction.

The faster repairs reporting that repairs and maintenance software allows should create swifter solutions, leading to more contented tenants and landlords. That should be the new reality.

[1] http://www.propertywire.com/news/uk/tenants-uk-fear-evicted-press-landlords-repairs/ 

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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.
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Zahraa Valu

By Zahraa Valu

07 August 2017

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