Landlords and letting agents have seen an exponential rise in disrepair claims over the past five years.
With the rise of no-win, no-fee lawyers and ever-increasing media coverage, tenants are acutely aware of their rights. In 2021 alone, the number of searches for ‘disrepair’ increased by 138% compared to the previous year.
What are disrepairs and how do they apply to the Private Rented Sector?
There is a common misconception that disrepair compensation only applies to social housing. While most publicised cases tend to be from social and council housing, disrepair is an issue for the private rented sector. Your obligations are almost identical to those in social housing and revolve around the concept of whether the property is ‘unfit for habitation’ covered in the Homes Act (2018) and other legislation.
A rented home is unfit for habitation when unresolved issues make it unreasonable for tenants to live there. Conditions that would impact your tenants under disrepair legislation range from impacting their health, increasing their risk of physical injury or something that affects the full use of their home. In general, this includes:
- Damp and mould - damp and mould problems caused by disrepair or that make the property unfit to live in.
- Rats, mice and other pests - you must carry out any repairs needed to stop vermin or pests from getting into the buildings you manage.
- Maintaining the structural integrity of the building - including the roof, guttering, floors, stairs, pipes and windows.
- Heating and hot water - you need to ensure that your tenant's hot water and heating are in working order.
- Sanitation - tenants need access to sanitation facilities - including basins, baths and toilets.
- Utilities - you need to provide safe working water, gas and electricity supply.
In the cases listed above, the property provider must action a repair as soon as possible, or the property will fall into disrepair. Most disrepair cases hinge on whether the property provider has acted, and done so in a timely manner - this is why it is vital to have an audit trail to confirm your disrepair process the whole way through.
Audit trails should confirm the time and date the tenant contacted the property provider, the actions that the property provider has taken, any issues with access to the property, completion reports (including photos or videos) and approval from the tenant that the job has been satisfactorily completed.
Keeping and storing this information in a meaningful place is crucial. However, because communications occur through emails, phone calls and text messages, it is hard to keep track. Compound this with finding contractors in a meaningful amount of time and auditing contractors’ work, it’s easy to see why disrepairs are such an issue.
How best can you deal with disrepairs?
With Plentific, you can complete your disrepair process efficiently with a digital audit trail. You can record interactions with your residents, get quotes, book contractors, arrange access, record any access issues, and record completed work orders with images and videos. Plentific can help your team complete disrepairs in less than 72 hours on average, from quote acceptance to completion using our marketplace. You can use your own workforce, manage the process within the platform and supplement with our marketplace when required - all part of our mixed economy delivery.
Are you worried that these repairs might be out of hours? Plentific has an out-of-hours service where you can have your emergency repairs triaged in line with your SLAs. No need to scale up your workforce or find contractors out of hours; our professional call centre can take care of emergency repairs 24/7/365.
Keeping your golden thread, golden
What if you could stop disrepairs before they start? Property providers need to make sure their properties pass compliance checks. Recording compliance checks are only part of this process; regular electrical and gas check-ups can mitigate some disrepair risks.
Plentific’s compliance solutions not only cover electrical and gas. We can help you with fire risk assessments and fire door assessments. Certificates can be stored on the platform, and our handy dashboards can help you monitor the overall health of your portfolio.
What are you waiting for?
Plentific’s end-to-end platform can help you monitor, maintain, report and prevent repairs from becoming disrepairs. Plentific integrates with other platforms, including MRI and Yardi to enhance your current offerings.
To book a hassle-free demo with Plentific click here.