Many landlords are not maintenance experts, however ….

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Many landlords are not maintenance experts, however ....One of the things that always scares me about property and, to be honest, stopped me from buying properties earlier was my lack of maintenance skills. I knew nothing about the causes of damp, how much windows cost, consumer units, or where to source trade kitchens etc. As for roofing – the costs scared me no end.

As you get more experienced, you do pick up knowledge. But there are still areas where you are always going to be struggling.

For example – damp.

We had a recent example of damp in a downstairs toilet. It had a sealed window and damp between the external wall and ceiling. The original contractor blamed condensation and did some repairs to decor with a £200 bill.

4 months later and the damp returns. He then states we need to have a window that opens, a humidistat extractor and repair the decor…. We’re now quoted £600. Given that tenants rarely open windows, this seemed a waste. But why is there condensation in a toilet? It is rarely used and there is no bath or shower.

When we reviewed this further, looked at the floor-plan on our file, and the video and photo inspections that we keep, we knew that this room was below the upstairs bath. We asked the tenant to investigate and sure enough, once the panel was removed, there were damp floorboards. The issue was the silicone seal around the bath! A £50 repair.

Understanding these issues only comes from experience and trade knowledge. Contractors will be more than happy to do work which is unnecessary if you’re willing to pay for it!

This knowledge is vital – in some areas, especially with damp or mold, you can pay a fortune in doing remedial works which are unnecessary.

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Comments

  • Nigel says:

    Hi Glenn,

    You may care to make reference next time to SOME contractors, (Contractors will be more than happy to do work which is unnecessary) Last year I could have had 5 re-roofs because the client was convinced they needed a new roof, in fact the gutters needed cleaning. So please SOME contractors. Of course there are some contractors who haven’t got a clue what they are on about really and they tend to be the cheapest. There are numerous other problems that I could have “expanded”, but guess what? These people always call me back now and trust me because I explain whats going wrong and why.

    Ps. 99% of house do NOT need damp proof injection, its a con.

    Nigel


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  • If there’s a problem, seek an opinion from an RICS surveyor who knows about building contruction. They will tell you what the issue is and if you ask will suggest solutions. They are impartial as they are not contractors and may monitor/ check the works post completion before you pay the contractor if you wish. Their fees can pay for themselves and they carry indemnity insurance you can all on if they make an error.

    Far better than being ripped off by some contractors who may not know what they are doing.


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  • i would echo my sister freda’s advices. however, your contractors advices about condensation sound unusually sensible. whether the wc is used much or not is totally irrelevant to condensation! humidity will migrate to the coldest room. of course it could be both condensation and leak from above.


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  • Good stuff Joe, keep it in the family!


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  • Simon says:

    Hi Glen,

    The correct diagnosis of moisture problems is essential when specifying any repair works. Experienced, qualified surveyors from the RICS or those holding the PCA’s, CRST are best placed to provide suitable advice.


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  • Matthew says:

    The answer to your problems is to have a decent letting agent. I am a retired disabled detective and unable to deal with any problems my former house throws up, since I moved into sheltered accomodation. I have been completely and totally taken advantage of by several letting agencies, here in Newark, one of which is owned by a property ombudsman, but have found that Philip and Brenda, at Martin and Co. are the most honest and reliable agents that can be found, and they have all repairs done as cheaply, but efficiently as possible. The other agents give you low commision fees, but find many ways of bumping up their charges. Martin and Co. are now selling houses as well, so good luck to them! Many thanks for their efficiency and truthfulness!
    Matthew recently posted…Awaiting FSA second response to Bank of Ireland differential increaseMy Profile


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  • I daresay some (who knows how many) agents get kick backs from contractors on repairs.


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