Don’t ignore essential maintenance during lockdown

by Property118.com News Team

8:00 AM, 17th April 2020
About 7 months ago

Don’t ignore essential maintenance during lockdown

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Don’t ignore essential maintenance during lockdown

Last week, tradesperson comparison site, HaMuch.com, highlighted that over the last year there have been 48,012 recorded incidents in Britain caused by gas, fire or electricity issues that resulted in death or non-fatal injury.

With this in mind, they’ve provided some top tips on how best to let a tradesperson carry out essential work within a home while the threat of the Coronavirus remains.

Official Government advice states that work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms. Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a 2-metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.

Is the work essential?

Ignoring any faults concerning gas, electricity or any other potential fire hazard could result in grave consequences and should be addressed. However, a blocked sink, leaky pipe, broken piece of guttering or loose fence panel probably doesn’t qualify as essential.

However, a gas leak or broken/faulty wire or circuit does require immediate action and shouldn’t be left unchecked. Steps can be taken to reduce these problems occurring by not overloading extension cords and most of the time the leading cause of fire can be faulty appliances or bulbs with too high a fuse in them. Ensure that everything is correct and in working order to prevent these issues before they happen.

Get a remote quote or advice

If you’re not sure whether the work is essential, or you are but you want to get a quote, contact a number of tradespeople and request an e-quote. Platforms such as HaMuch.com allow you to post jobs so that you reach a number of tradespeople at once and you can stipulate in the job advert itself that you want a quote either over the phone, by FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype or another video call service.

Request precautions

The chances are all good tradespeople will be following their own strict regime to halt the spread of the Coronavirus but don’t be afraid to ask them what processes they are putting into place.

In normal circumstances, it might sound intrusive, but they shouldn’t be bothered if you ask them a number of questions such as: –

  • Where have they been working and how many people have been on-site?
  • Have they, their colleagues or any family members shown symptoms?
  • How long ago was this?
  • What are they doing to maintain hygiene and to halt the spread of the virus?
  • Who will they be working with at your home?
  • What protective measures will they be taking in your home specifically?

Be upfront

No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where a vulnerable individual is being shielded unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household. If anyone at the home has contracted the virus or are showing symptoms, be upfront about it.

You can also reassure your tradesperson on the precautions you will take to ensure their safety such as keeping to a confined area of the house, deep cleaning the area where work is required and washing your hands before and after contact with them.

Isolate the area

Most of the time, you should be able to allow a tradesperson access to the required area without the need to enter other parts of the home. Think about the best route to the area where work is required for example, if it’s at the back of the house, allow them access via a side gate rather than through the front door.

While they are working at your property, keep all occupants restricted to other rooms until the work is completed including your pets.

Social distance and deep clean

If it is a relatively small job, you could advise occupants to take their hour of exercise outside of the house, leaving just one adult to allow entry to your tradesperson, helping to reduce any potential spread of the virus in a worst-case scenario.

They may need to use the toilet while at your house, if possible, allow them to use a different toilet.

Deep clean any area of work, or the toilet if you only have one bathroom, before and after.

Provide antibacterial products for your tradesperson on the off chance they don’t have their own.

Not offering a cup of tea is one of the biggest tradesperson gripes, but given current circumstances, they should understand.

While they are in the house, always remain 2 metres apart and it might be a smarter idea to leave the door unlocked and guide them into your home either vocally or through written instructions.

Founder and CEO of HaMuch.com, Tarquin Purdie, commented: 

“It’s completely understandable that you may have some hesitations around allowing a tradesperson in and we don’t advise you to do so for anything that can wait.

However, there is a very real danger of death or fire involved where gas and electricity is concerned, and so any faults concerning these issues should be resolved as quickly as possible.

It simply isn’t worth the risk and there are plenty of measures you can take to make sure both you and your chosen tradesperson prevent any risk of infection from the Coronavirus. They will no doubt be as worried as you so communication is key in a time like this to ensure both of you have your minds put at rest and the essential work can be carried out.”


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Comments

Brian Dinsdale

10:07 AM, 17th April 2020
About 7 months ago

It would have been a good idea to show how many of the recorded incidents were in rented houses an how many in owner occupied.

Carol

10:43 AM, 17th April 2020
About 7 months ago

Some tradesmen are only carrying out emergency work with the higher than normal call out charges

GPM UK

11:00 AM, 17th April 2020
About 7 months ago

Good point Brian, I just had a quick look at gov.uk statistics, there is a lot of information available but looking for rental figures is like the proverbial needle in a haystack. In a ideal world with all Landlords and Agents adhering to regulations and tenants playing their part too there should be considerably less incidents than in the home owner sector.
Hi Carol
We are a property maintenance company working solely for the letting industry, we are still working and I promise we are not loading any invoices during these challenging times http://www.gpmuk.com

Robert Mellors

11:50 AM, 17th April 2020
About 7 months ago

Unfortunately many property maintenance companies are struggling to obtain building materials and this is delaying repairs, including essential safety related repairs!

GPM UK

12:01 PM, 17th April 2020
About 7 months ago

Hi Robert
Not sure where you are based but here is the info for a couple in our area, hope it helps.
SNS Building Products
Head Office and Trade Centre | 1-3 Arkwright Road | Reading | RG2 0LU
Farnborough Trade Centre | 13 Eelmoor Road | Farnborough | GU14 7QN
T: 0118 9873344 | E: sales@snsbp.co.uk
ULTIMATE ELECTRICAL SUPPLIERS
for all your electrical materials
65 Stonecot Hill
Sutton
SM3 9HJ
Mob.: 07724 742 855
Tel. : 020 8641 4111

WP

13:56 PM, 17th April 2020
About 7 months ago

Always a tricky answer. Personally at the start of all this I sent all my tenants a letter saying due to lockdown measures at the mo regular maintenance is off, but emergencies will be carried out if I can can get an engineer out/etc. Other than that it is a timely reminder to all tenants that the landlord is indeed NOT responsible for replacing a lightbulb, securing a loo seat or oiling a squeaky cupboard door. In fact a polite reminder that they are responsible for light general maintenance issues anyway, and that in the current situation it will prevent them from more risk of catching the virus as no contractor is required to enter. I have had a case where an annual gas check is needed in the lockdown period, but the tenant wrote back and said she is shielding and that she doesn't want anyone coming in to the property until the time comes when 'its safe'. All agreed, everyone aware. IF anything comes back from this then there is evidence to show there was agreement and that what else could have been done? I think in the absence of a directive/legislation, any court in the land will HAVE to see that a common sense approach between two parties was made on the basis of an unprecedented situation.

GPM UK

14:17 PM, 17th April 2020
About 7 months ago

Hi Keeping a record is exactly what you need to do, more advice on this subject can be obtained from:
https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/covid-19-advice-and-guidance/landlords/


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