Landlords and agents warning to be aware of rogue maintenance contractors

Landlords and letting agents in the UK are being urged to be increasingly aware of being ripped off by maintenance contractors overcharging and not completing jobs to a satisfactory standard.

The warning comes from the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) which reckons that employing the wrong contractors and tradespeople could be costing landlords and letting agents thousands of unnecessary pounds each year.

A few months ago, a landlord posted on forum website complaining that a plumber had charged £90 for tightening a valve connection in a leaking radiator, a job which, according to the landlord’s tenant, took just two minutes to complete.

‘This is a problem that seems to be becoming more common, but it’s something that landlords and agents can address easily. Before employing any tradesperson you should ask for a quote. You can also ask them to provide an updated quote once they have visited the rental property and assessed the situation,’ said AIIC chair Patricia Barber.

‘What’s more, by informing a tradesperson of your maximum spend or budget you can alleviate the worry of being hit with an unexpected bill. It is then up to the contractor to decide whether or not they want to take on the job,’ she explained.

The AIIC also advises landlords and letting agents to use reputable tradespeople and take advantage of resources like checkatrade.com, ratedpeople.com and trustatrader.com.

‘As well as using these sites when looking for a contractor, you should also leave reviews when work has been completed. This will help others to make decisions and contribute towards keeping these online directories as accurate and up to date as possible,’ Barber explained.

‘When letting a property, you will always need to put aside some money for essential maintenance jobs. However, choosing the right contractor and making sure you receive quotes and inform them of what you’re looking to spend could significantly reduce your annual costs,’ she added.