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A landlord’s guide to hiring contractors
A landlord’s guide to hiring contractors For some people, being a landlord is a full-time occupation. For others, it is something they manage in addition to carrying out a full-time job. Either way, the role comes with serious and sometimes onerous responsibilities, both legal and ethical.
Perhaps most fundamentally, a landlord is responsible for the upkeep of the property, ensuring that it is in a safe and habitable condition. Keeping a property in good condition will also make it attractive to prospective tenants and enable a landlord to command the best rental prices in a competitive market.
Certain aspects of leasehold properties are the responsibility of the freeholder who should employ a good property management company or managing agent to ensure that buildings and grounds are well maintained. Jobs that a landlord must consider
• Are all the electrical fixtures and fittings safely installed in line with relevant legislation?
• Are the furnishings and decor sufficiently modern in appearance and in good condition?
• If the property has a gas boiler, has this been recently serviced and inspected?
• Is all plumbing, including both visible and unseen pipework, in a good state of repair?
• Are outside areas, both to the front and the rear of the property, tidy and well kept? Addressing all of these jobs can be time-consuming and the tasks involved very often require technical skills that fall outside the expertise of most landlords. They may even require someone with specialist certification. For those people who manage a rental property in addition to a full-time job this can be particularly challenging.
The process of hiring contractors is relatively simple but must be carefully followed to ensure that the work is carried out to a high standard and at a competitive price.
• Do some research and get recommendations. Ask friends, family and colleagues for details of contractors who have carried out similar work for them. There are also numerous websites that provide independent reviews of all kinds of contractors.
•Call around and source at least three quotes to ensure you are getting the most competitive price.
• Agree a price up-front and ensure this is formally recorded along with a clear description of the work. Include details such as the estimated time of completion, as well as payment schedule and method. A contract with which to hold each other to account is critical before any work commences.
• Finally, ensure that the contractor has all the relevant certification and insurance. They must be able to provide this on request.
Paying contractors is a complex and sometimes daunting area with numerous legal, regulatory and tax considerations to be taken into account. Many contractors are self-employed and not experts on payroll issues themselves. They also have different needs and requirements so will not necessarily follow the same payment processes. It is therefore helpful for a landlord to know where to turn for specialist support.
Carefully following the correct process and knowing where to turn for support and expert advice will ensure that hiring contractors to carry out repairs and refurbishments on your rental properties is a stress-free experience.
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