By Chris Kidwell, The Living Room Estates
Maintenance coordination in a letting agent is one of the most intensive tasks there is. Imagine sitting in your front room on a windy, rainy evening or weekend. The fire on, a hot cup of coffee in hand, your favourite show playing on Netflix. The soft tip-tapping of the rain on the window panes is a relaxing experience for many.
However, for the letting agent’s maintenance coordinator, the feeling of dread sets in. Questions are running through his or her head. Will our portfolio of houses stand up to the weather? Will I walk in tomorrow to a sea of maintenance request emails? Will I get a call on the out-of-hours phone for an emergency? Am I going to have to work extra hours tonight?
The constant feeling on unpredictability is a real.
The Never-ending Workload
On top of the unpredictable nature of the job is the sheer volume of work and constantly changing laws and regulations. Are all the safety certificates on every house up to date? Gas Safety? Electrical Installation? Fire Alarm and Equipment Inspections? HMO Certificates? PAT Testing? EPCs?
When the tenants aren’t requesting maintenance repairs, the council could be demanding works for a HMO application. House inspections need to be carried out at each property. Maintenance works are being uncovered on these inspections that the tenants never thought to report. Check-out inspection bring more workload.
They face a non-stop stream of work. And while they are damn good at what they do. Every now and again, honest mistakes are made and things slip through the net.
Help is on the way
We’re now using an app that’s going to make it easier.
Our tenant app allows our tenants to report maintenance quickly and easily from their phones – attaching pictures as necessary. The jobs are automatically created on the system, eradicating old-fashioned data entry processes. Tenants are able to see when their request has been read and also whenever it’s been advanced to the next stage.
Our contractors also have an app. Jobs get automatically allocated to contractors and, once accepted, tenant details are released to the contractors to arrange access. To finish, contractors are not able to close a job without uploading a picture of their completed work. Processes are being automated all over the shop saving us time and money. And giving us the headroom to improve our customer service in other areas.
Work in Progress
So while we’re hugely excited about our tenant app, we’re still working on this and have some improvements in the pipeline.
As things continue to improve, we’ll release more information. But right now, we’re very happy that we’re moving in the right direction.
We’re aiming to make 2019 the year that we go fully online across the board, and our tenant app will go a long, long way to helping us achieve that goal.