In early 2009, we contacted a landlord who had been advertising in the local newspaper. He was happy to talk and he explained that he had now found tenants, but was happy for us to ring again a few months later. It turns out that he had two almost brand new properties, next door to each other, in a popular new development.
Over the course of a year or so we kept in touch and one day he told us that one of his tenants was moving out and that he would like us to find a replacement. We were invited to appraise the property with a view to moving a tenant in as soon as possible. He then wanted us to manage both, since he was overseas.
We visited the property which it transpired, rather unfortunately, had been comprehensively wrecked. He’d used an online agency to arrange the two
tenancies and hadn’t carried out periodic visits. We had to inform him that it would need a complete redecoration, new carpets, a new washing machine, a new window, extensive gardening and a variety of other minor maintenance jobs carried out before we could even contemplate re-letting it. There were also minor arrears and an inadequate deposit.
In order to get the problem resolved, we negotiated an early move-out by the tenant and arranged for all the necessary estimates and quotations. The landlord sent funds for us and we oversaw the entire job. At the same time, we “soft” marketed the property; any suitable applicants applying for similar properties were told of this one and we carried out two viewings when it was in the process of being renovated. Before the painting had been completed, we took a holding fee from a young professional couple.
They have now been living there for some time and we now also manage next door with new tenants who moved in at about the same time.
We very much doubt that he will ever be tempted to use an online agency again or to manage his properties at arms-length.
And our charges for all of this work? A modest set-up fee and our standard monthly management charge. As a matter of principal, we don’t make a margin on maintenance work. He paid what we were invoiced for the work and no more.
No doubt, some would have charged him for their input. But this experience had cost him the best part of £4000 in repairs, renewals, cleaning and lost rent.
By not adding to this, we believe we have secured a long term landlord who will no doubt tell others.
This article was publised a number of years ago and then archived. It's now 2017 and we are still managing these properties for this particular landlord. Since then, we've gone through this same process on many occasions and we still make no charge for our input.
Obviously, we’re also very happy to take on properties which don’t require such attention. Feel free to email or telephone us if you have one.