The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) is reminding us to remain vigilant to unscrupulous maintenance contractors.
To help avoid being ripped off by rogue operators, the organisation is urging landlords to avoid using contractors who take advantage of people letting in the PRS - either by overcharging or not completing jobs to a sufficient standard.
Last year, a landlord posted on forum website property118.com, complaining that a plumber had charged £90 for tightening a 'valve connection' in a leaking radiator - a job which, according to the landlord's tenant, took just two minutes to complete.
Patricia Barber, chair of the AIIC, said: “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.
“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 use reputable tradespeople and take advantage of resources like checkatrade.com, ratedpeople.com and trustatrader.com.
Barber added: “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.”