Over 10% of agents remain unaware of what is required to provide a statutorily defined ‘adequate response’ to a tenant repair request.
The claim is in a new report from Fixflo, the repairs reporting specialist whose software allows tenants to report repairs issues online in any one of up to 40 languages.
Due to legislative changes resulting from the Deregulation Act, if an agent or landlord does not provide an ‘adequate response’ in writing to a tenant repair request, the tenant may set in train a process which invalidates the landlord’s ability to serve a valid Section 21 notice to regain possession of their property at the end of a tenancy.
Some 8% of agents are completely unaware of any changes to the Section 21 process, says the report.
There is now a raft of prescribed documents that must be provided in a legally compliant manner to each tenant, meaning it is more difficult than ever for a landlord to regain possession of their property at the end of a tenancy.
David Cox, managing director of ARLA, said: “Homes that are well maintained and professionally managed benefit landlords, tenants and agents alike, and this report demonstrates how important it is for agencies to have robust procedures in place for property repairs and maintenance.
“It is also worrying that almost a year after the legislation came into force, one in ten agents are still unaware of the changes to possession proceedings and highlights how vital it is for both landlords and tenants that they use a properly trained and qualified agent.”
Rajeev Nayyar, managing director of Fixflo, said: “The demands on property management continue to increase with the legislation that has come through the door over the past 12 months.
“These mounting tasks, that are time consuming to perform on a daily basis, are difficult to deal with correctly.
“With 40% of maintenance issues being reported outside of office hours by an increasingly diverse tenant base, property managers really are the unsung heroes of the industry.”
The third annual Fixflo Report analysed data from over a quarter of a million repairs through the Fixflo system over the past 12 months, as well as in-depth survey responses from more than 300 lettings agency branches across the UK.
This year, the Fixflo Report also exposes the fact that repairs in London can cost home owners up to 337% more than in Yorkshire on average.
In the case of lighting-related issues, London home owners found themselves spending on average £208 compared to £62 in Yorkshire.
Pest and vermin related issues saw a 235% increase in expenditure in the capital, with an average spend of £160 in London and £68 in Yorkshire. A significant increase in spending was seen in London across the board.
The report also highlights some interesting trends, including a jump in the number of issues being reported out of hours to 40% from 33% in 2015.
Just under half (47%) of lettings agents know of a landlord who changed letting agency due to a repair-related issue.
You can download a copy of the Fixflo Report here: