The best landlords want to sustain functional, comfortable properties and look after their tenants. To do this, they require the help and expertise of prolific, responsible contractors.
Unfortunately, it’s becoming harder to find skilled trade workers today. There’s a skill shortage sweeping through the UK. Additionally, there are also limitations with supplies too. At the same time, demand is higher than ever. Desperate individuals, including landlords, are bound to fall into the clutches of devious schemes if they’re not careful. How can landlords efficiently avoid rogue traders? We’ve listed a few suggestions down below.
1. Research Trusted Reviews
It can be difficult to discern the legitimacy of online reviews today. Many are fake, and some of the entities that publish them have shadier ulterior motives.
That said, there are a few online hubs of authenticity out there. MyBuilder is one of them, making it possible for you to look at reviews for local electricians and any other trader you might need as a landlord; gardeners, fitters, locksmiths, and more. You can also post the job you need doing, field responses from tradespeople, compare quotes, and investigate work histories for additional assurances.
Landlords are short on time and don’t necessarily have the time to field endless search results as they Google ‘electricians near me’. There’s always a risk that frantic online searches will also lead you to rogue traders. Ideally, you need to find a way to contact available and reputable traders immediately, especially if your tenants are experiencing an emergency. Services like those provided by MyBuilder ensure you can act speedily and safely.
2. Consult Your Letting Agent
It’s a good idea to use a letting agent as a landlord, as they will help you to look after your properties. These working relationships are positive collaborations and give you more options to consider when seeking additional help.
Letting agents will have their own list of traders to recommend to you. Each suggestion will be a certified and registered trader that can be wholly relied upon. You’re not locked into anything and can decline as needed, but it’s still a good idea to consider anyone they put forward. They likely have a history of working with them already.
You can still use the other sites to cross-reference their recommendations and check they’re well-reviewed elsewhere. Your decision may only come down to subtle changes in price, too.
It might be that your letting agent serves as a good soundboard too. Landlords can often feel lonely and isolated in their tasks, so having people to confide in and guide you can be comforting. Ultimately, it’s a good idea to draw on all the help and experience you can, even if you’ve been a landlord for some time.
3. Work With Your Tenants
As you’re probably aware, landlords are generally responsible for organising maintenance and most repairs in a property. However, tenancy agreements can differ somewhat on the finer details of these arrangements.
Consequently, it would help if you clarified that you would be the one dealing with traders. If your tenants are young, inexperienced, and perhaps somewhat reckless, they could accidentally employ the services of rogue traders and make bad situations even worse.
Even if your responsibilities are in writing, problem tenants can still perhaps get too big for their boots and do something without your authorisation. So long as you’ve made things clear, there should be legal action you can take and compensation you can acquire to reverse their interference.
Of course, you could always consult your tenants and ensure they’re happy with the contractors you choose. They may even have suggestions themselves, which you can validate together. Ultimately, rogue traders can get in everybody’s heads, not just yours as a landlord, so it’s important to be conscious of that.
4. Make a Network of Contacts
Finding a trustworthy trader is great. However, their names should remain in your contact books, as the day will likely come when you need them again.
Save the information of every trader you work with. Try to establish a friendly rapport during the periods when you work with them. While you shouldn’t distract them while they’re on the job, getting to know facts and trivia about their life can help you solidify a stronger working relationship.
Some traders grant preferential treatment to clients they like or supply them with a steady flow of recurring business. There’s no guarantee yours will do this, but they may at least go the extra mile to help you, even if it’s just in the warmth of their customer service and their attitude toward your tenants.
Once again, you’re not locked into anything here. If you suspect prices and deals are out there, you can always switch at the opportune moment to do so. Still, as there’s a lot of turbulence in the trading arena, having a few trusted names you can stick by is highly advisable.