Posts with tag: repairs

Almost Half of Adults Pay a Tradesperson Cash in Hand for Cheaper Deal

Published On: July 28, 2017 at 9:41 am

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Almost half of UK adults (46%) admit to paying tradespeople cash in hand in order to get a cheaper deal on work, according to a recent survey by home service marketplace Plentific.

Almost Half of Adults Pay a Tradesperson Cash in Hand for Cheaper Deal

Almost Half of Adults Pay a Tradesperson Cash in Hand for Cheaper Deal

The new data arrives following the recent Taylor Review by Matthew Taylor, in which a reduction of cash in hand payments in the UK was suggested. Mr. Taylor stated that work paid for using cash could be worth up to £6 billion per year, which quite often goes untaxed.

While a complete ban on cash payments was not proposed, the review did suggest that a cashless society – largely due to the increasing popularity of digital payment platforms – could one day be the norm.

The study by Plentific found that adults aged 55 and over are more likely to pay a tradesperson cash in hand (56%) than young adults (18 to 34-year-olds), of which just 33% admitted to paying with cash to get a cheaper deal.

While this suggests that the older generation is more thrifty when it comes to hiring a tradesperson, it could also be a reflection of the changing times, with cash payments becoming far less frequent in today’s society.

Based on location, Liverpool came out on top for the number of adults who say they have paid a tradesperson cash in hand for work (54%). This compares to just a quarter in London (25%), 22% in both Plymouth and Southampton, and 21% in Cardiff.

Cash in hand may be the preferred method of payment for some professions, however, for tradespeople, it seems that many are feeling the pressure on their businesses to compete with those willing to take a lower fee in cash payments.

Being paid for work using a payment platform helps to ensure a level playing field in terms of job competition, as well as providing a lot more security than cash in hand payments. Having a backed guarantee and digital paper trail also mean that any dispute over payments can be supported by hard evidence.

Julio Heitor, an engineer working for Trio Properties, insists: “Being paid cash in hand is a hassle. I like being able to use a safe and secure payment method that takes the worry out of the job. It leaves me time to focus on the important things, such as the job at hand.”

Metin Savas, of renovation firm Metin and CO., agrees: “When I quote a customer for a job, I do sometimes get asked if there would be a discount for paying in cash. But, in today’s society, it’s so much easier to deal with online payments or bank transfers, which are protected, so for me that’s the far better option.”

A spokesperson for Plentific, Stephen Jury, comments: “Tradesmen are often painted in a bad light by the media when it comes to things like cash in hand payments. Our statistics show that actually, it can be the customers who are driving this option to save a few pounds.

“Plentific allows homeowners to find and pay tradesmen securely online. Paying in cash is costing the Government an enormous amount of money, and people are putting themselves at unnecessary risk. Ultimately, those who seek a cheaper deal by paying in cash in hand are doing the Government and economy a great deal of harm.”

Landlords, do you pay cash in hand for maintenance jobs on your properties? Perhaps you should switch to online payments!

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The RLA Welcomes Reintroduction of Bill Concerning Housing Standards

Published On: July 19, 2017 at 9:14 am

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The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has welcomed news that Labour MP Karen Buck is to reintroduce her Private Members’ Bill into Parliament today. If passed, it will hopefully improve housing standards in the private rental sector.

The RLA Welcomes Reintroduction of Bill Concerning Housing Standards

The RLA Welcomes Reintroduction of Bill Concerning Housing Standards

Buck, who represents Westminster North, is reintroducing the Bill, called the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill, which would resurrect a law dating back to 1885 if passed.

Tenants already have the right to a home that is fit for human habitation, but only if the rent is less than £52 per year (or £80 in London) – figures that were set back in 1957.

Under more recent legislation – the Housing Act 2004 – landlords can be forced to make repairs to their properties by local councils, but the authorities tend to act only on tenants’ complaints and have few resources to proactively inspect housing standards in private rental accommodation.

Just 2,006 landlords have been convicted of offences under the Housing Act 2004 so far.

When Buck first introduced the Bill, almost two years ago, she explained that she wanted legislation to counter “a growth in the numbers of landlords who try to cut corners and get away with letting out substandard accommodation”.

The RLA is pleased that Buck plans to re-introduce the Bill today. The Policy Director of the organisation, David Smith, says: “Tenants have a right to expect that homes are fit for habitation, and the vast majority of good landlords already provide this. This Bill therefore reinforces what landlords should already be doing.

“By providing a route to direct tenant enforcement of basic housing standards, the Bill will give a further opportunity to deal with the minority of landlords who have no place in the market. Current legislation often lets these criminals off the hook due to underfunded councils being unable to properly enforce it.”

He adds: “We look forward to working with Ms. Buck as the Bill is developed and considered in Parliament.”

Do you support the Bill concerning housing standards in the private rental sector?

Tenants Reluctant to Report Repairs for Fear of Retaliation, Report Claims

Published On: July 14, 2017 at 9:49 am

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A new report from Citizens Advice claims that private tenants are reluctant to report repairs to their landlords for fear of retaliation, such as potential evictions, blacklisting and rent rises.

The study found that four in ten private tenants are too afraid to make complaints, which largely explains why sub-standard rental properties are the most common issue reported to the independent charity from those living in the private rental sector.

The report shows that more than two in five tenants (41%) – the equivalent of 1.85 million households – have waited longer than they usually should have for their landlord to carry out a repair in the last four years.

Tenants Reluctant to Report Repairs for Fear of Retaliation, Report Claims

Tenants Reluctant to Report Repairs for Fear of Retaliation, Report Claims

Citizens Advice now wants to see the significant power imbalance between landlords and tenants addressed.

Over the past year, Citizens Advice helped people with more than 16,000 problems around private rental sector homes in bad conditions.

Private landlords have a legal responsibility to fix problems in a reasonable time – usually a month or less, or 24 hours for the most urgent cases.

When tenants wait longer than is deemed reasonable, a court order can be issued to the landlord, or the tenant can be awarded financial compensation. In some cases, both will be served.

However, this new research suggests that tenants are not holding their landlords to account, due to fears that they could lose their homes.

Some 57% of tenants said that they did not want to force the issue with their landlord for fear of being evicted. More than half – 51% – also said that another concern was that their landlord would increase the rent if they continued complaining.

Rather than pursuing the issue with their landlord or taking formal action, Citizens Advice found that tenants often take matters into their own hands, with 30% carrying out repairs themselves and 14% paying for repairs out of their own pockets.

One family who turned to Citizens Advice for support had spent £10,000 of their own money fixing a number of issues in their home, including a broken heating system, after repeated complaints to their landlord failed.

The charity is calling for better protection against retaliatory evictions by rolling out independent complaints bodies – or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) schemes – across the private rental sector.

The Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, Gillian Guy, insists: “Renters should be able to ask for repairs to their home without fear of retaliation.

“Homes in poor condition are the most common private rented sector issue people turn to Citizens Advice for help with. Issues such as broken fittings, faulty electricals or leaks can make life hard for renters, and can even lead to ill health. But renters aren’t pursuing their rights to repair because they are worried their landlord will put up their rent or evict them. To add to this, formal routes to redress aren’t being used either because they’re too difficult and expensive.”

She continues: “Rent is the most expensive costs households face, but protections for renters simply don’t reflect this. The new Government needs to make it easier for people to have their rights enforced when their home is in poor condition.

“The redress process also needs to give renters protection from retaliatory action, so they feel confident reporting a problem in their home and don’t feel like their only option is to dip into their own pocket.”

While this study highlights the issues still tarnishing the private rental sector, the latest English Housing Survey appears to dispel certain myths surrounding private renting: /latest-english-housing-survey-dispels-myths/

Landlords Warned to Not Get Caught Out by Rogue Tradespeople

Published On: February 2, 2017 at 9:24 am

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Landlords and letting agents have been warned to not get caught by rogue tradespeople operating in the private rental sector.

Landlords Warned to Not Get Caught Out by Rogue Tradespeople

Landlords Warned to Not Get Caught Out by Rogue Tradespeople

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) urges landlords and letting agents to be increasingly aware of being ripped off by rogue tradespeople who conduct maintenance work on their rental properties.

The organisation warns that some rogue tradespeople and contractors take advantage of those letting properties to private tenants by either overcharging or not completing jobs to a sufficient standard.

The AIIC claims that employing the wrong contractors could cost landlords and letting agents thousands of unnecessary pounds every year.

It refers to a case from a few months ago, when a landlord complained that a plumber had charged £90 to tighten a valve connection in a leaking radiator, a job that, according to the landlord’s tenant, had taken just two minutes to complete.

The Chair of the AIIC, Patricia Barber, says: “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.”

She also suggests: “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.”

The AIIC also advises landlords and letting agents to avoid rogue tradespeople by using resources such as checkatrade.com, ratedpeople.com, and trustatrader.com.

Barber recommends: “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.

“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.”

If you’ve had problems with rogue tradespeople in the past, follow these tips!

Free Online Maintenance and Repair Reporting Tool for Tenants Launches

Published On: October 20, 2016 at 9:29 am

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The National Landlords Code of Excellence Ltd (NLCE) has launched a free online maintenance and repair reporting tool for private tenants in a bid to tackle the age-old problem of maintenance/repair issues between landlords and tenants.

Maintenance in private rental properties is one of the most complex issues to define, particularly for tenants, and is one of the main causes of deposit disputes at the end of a tenancy. Research from deposit protection scheme My Deposits shows that while only 2% of disputes require a formal resolution service, property maintenance accounts for 42% of these cases.

The law

Furthermore, for new tenancies that start on or after 1st October 2015, the Deregulation Act 2015 rules that:

  • Letting agents and tenants must put repair requests and resulting actions in writing.
  • Repair requests do not need to be written in English.
Free Online Maintenance and Repair Reporting Tool for Tenants Launches

Free Online Maintenance and Repair Reporting Tool for Tenants Launches

These new measures were created to protect tenants from eviction when they raise a complaint about the condition of their home, called revenge or retaliatory evictions. Therefore, if a landlord or their letting agent fails to follow the correct procedure for managing repairs under this latest legislation, they could face penalties as well as being unable to evict tenants in the future.

Although the new legislation does not specifically mention what “in writing” constitutes, the courts are increasingly encouraging service of documents by electronic means.

With all of this in mind, the NLCE created its property maintenance and repair reporting tool for tenants.

In compliance with the law, the reporting tool also provides a translation service, which allows tenants to report an issue to their landlord in over 100 languages.

The NLCE works with councils, landlords and letting agents around the UK to ensure that the legal requirements of a landlord, to repair and maintain their property to housing standards criteria, are met in full.

How does it work?

This free tool allows tenants to notify their landlord of any problems they are having with their property. Once the report has been sent, the landlord cannot claim that they have never received a complaint from the tenant about a specific maintenance/repair issue.

With this facility, the landlord supplies the tenant with a plastic bank card-style NLCE tenancy emergency card, which can be acquired from the NLCE and contains the landlord’s name and contact details. The tenant can then use the information on the card to report problems to the landlord. This also helps landlords comply with their legal responsibility to provide their tenants with their contact details.

If the landlord fails to complete the work within a reasonable timeframe, the tenant can automatically raise the issue to the NLCE to make a formal complaint. This complaint will then be passed simultaneously to the relevant accreditation scheme and local council.

Once the complaint is upheld, the complaint procedure will formally begin. If the accreditation scheme cannot make the landlord conduct the works, the local authority will step in to issue an improvement notice, which forces them to complete the work within a specific timescale.

The primary objective of the maintenance and repair reporting tool is to create a paper trail between the landlord and tenant, to protect both parties in the event of a dispute.

The tool can be accessed here: https://www.landlordreferencing.co.uk/nlceuk/maintenance-issue/