November 25, 2020Lettings, Lifestyle, Sales

Common tenant maintenance problems & repair costs

Being a landlord can be hugely rewarding but it’s a job that doesn’t come without hard work and commitment, as well as significant time and financial investment. 

Aside from the upfront costs involved in buying a property, refurbishments and getting tenants moved in, recent research by LV found that UK landlords spend an average of £2,600 per year on repairs and maintenance. 

This figure does not include the time it takes to manage the numerous tenant gripes and requests, which can range from minor lightbulb replacement issues (a tenant’s responsibility) to major leaks. 

Here, we explore some of the most common tenant maintenance and repair requests, and reveal the potential costs of rectifying the issues.

Leaks

One of the most common maintenance issues faced by landlords, leaks can also be one of the most expensive problems to solve. 

While a leaking tap or pipe can be easy and cheap to repair or replace, larger leaks caused by burst pipes or a sagging roof can set you back hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds – especially when the cost of labour is factored in. 

It’s therefore important to respond to leak complaints as soon as possible to avoid the problem worsening and then possibly causing further damage to a tenant’s personal belongings. 

Damp and mould

More than 5 million tenants have experienced damp and condensation issues in their rental properties, which can lead to severe cases of mould if not dealt with. 

While tenants have a responsibility to sufficiently heat and ventilate properties, landlords are legally required to ensure a rental property is fit for human habitation. 

There are a number of things landlords can do to minimise the risk of damp occurring, such as installing extractor fans in bathrooms, sufficiently insulating the property and ensuring windows and doors are sealed. 

If mould occurs, it can cost around £50 per room to have it removed, which does not include fixing the issue that caused the moisture in the first place.  

Broken boilers

As the cold weather sets in, heating and boiler problems rise. Every tenant has the right to live in a home where there is sufficient heating and hot water, so a landlord must act fast to repair broken boilers – 24 hours in fact. 

According to consumer group, Which?, the average cost of repairing a boiler can be £182 each time. Replacing a boiler is much more expensive at a median average of £2,595, including installation. 

It may be worth investing in boiler insurance to provide regular servicing and cover in the event of a breakdown.

Pest control

Pest infestation has been on the rise in recent years thanks to warmer weather in Britain. Last year, the heatwave sparked a bedbug infestation and in 2020, lockdown created the perfect environment for rodents. 

However it’s also the internal environment that can cause pest infestation and therefore, tenants have a duty to maintain their property to a high level of cleanliness to avoid such issues. 

Should the infestation be found to be as a result of disrepair or through no fault of the tenant, it will be down to the landlord to sort the issue (provided the tenant has reported it). 

The cost varies depending on the type of pest infestation and severity, but ranges from £40 per treatment per room to over £200. 

Other common issues

There are many other reasons a tenant may contact you regarding a maintenance or repair issue, including broken fence panels, blocked drains and faulty white goods. As a responsible landlord, it is your duty to be responsive and rectify the problem in an appropriate time frame – if the issue is not found to be the fault of the tenant. And if the tenant is at fault, be reasonable where appropriate – the cost of finding a new tenant often outweighs the cost of repair, so choose your battles wisely. 

If the idea of handling multiple tenant enquiries and managing numerous repairs on a monthly basis makes you anxious, consider using the services of a letting agent. According to research by Endsleigh Insurance, 41% of landlords find working with agents less stressful than managing properties on their own. What’s more, the survey claims you could save over £150 per month and six hours of your own time by engaging a professional property management business.

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