What maintenance jobs am I likely to face?

publication date: Jun 16, 2014
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books
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Home maintenance this Summer, DIY or get a pro in?

Now that the weather is kinder, the minds of most landlords and property owners should be turning to maintenance before enjoying the sunshine!

Make sure they are competent
And if you are hiring someone in, it’s crucial you hire a tradesperson whose credentials you’ve checked, and who belongs to a government-approved Competent Person Scheme (CPS). These organisations cover electricians, plumbers, renewable technology installers and Green Deal Installers and Advisors, and regularly assess their members to ensure their ongoing competence.

Typical maintenance problems
Broken boilers and faulty hot water supply are high on the list of urgent problems that owners often face when renovating an older property, and radiators may need to be power-flushed or even replaced.

The warmer spring weather often reveals a sorry catalogue of blocked drains, burst pipes and storm-damage to roofs and exterior walls. And faulty wiring and connections cause as many as 23% of accidental fires in the home every year in the UK, resulting in injury and fatalities.

DIY verus GIY (get someone in!) 
While some property owners favour a DIY approach to home maintenance, given the incentive to save some cash, it is vital not to take this to extremes. Certain jobs must be undertaken by trustworthy and experienced tradespeople who belong to accredited companies. For example, gas, electrical and working with glazing such as fitting windows must be carried out be an accredited person or you won’t have the right building regulation sign off forms to prove the work was done properly.

Avoid rogue traders – it’ easier than you think! 
Rogue traders and misguided DIY practitioners could be putting your lives and your loved ones at risk by tackling dangerous jobs themselves. So professionals may cost a little more, but competent, fully-qualified, CPS-registered tradespeople will give you peace of mind that the job has been carried out to standard industry and legal requirements. 

Carry out electrics carefully
This applies particularly to electrical jobs. You wouldn’t fit a new boiler or gas fire on your own, and electricity is just as dangerous as gas. Ensure you have an RCD (Residual Current Device) on your electrical consumer unit, and test it every few months.

Electrical inspections and surveys are also a sensible move to ensure that you are aware of any maintenance issues before they become serious and expensive. Also, be aware that ‘Part P’ of the Buildings Regulations requires you by law to notify your LABC department (Local Authority Building Control) before you so much as move a bathroom socket or light fitting. And if you’re moving home or renting out a property, make sure it has an up-to-date EICR in case the electrics need any work.

Make sure you get guarantees worth something on paper!
Once you have established which maintenance jobs need doing around your home, you should make sure that you and your chosen contractor both agree what work is to be carried out, and at what price, in contract form.

Most reputable companies offer a guarantee period where they will return free of charge, should a fault for which they are responsible develop during this time. Do, however, check how long any guarantees for the work will last. And if you’re unlucky, and your chosen company goes out of business, a Government-approved membership scheme provider will provide a warranty that guarantees your installation will comply with the appropriate industry standards for six years from the date of completion.

Make sure you check out our 'Maintaining a property quick guide' checklist from aspect and plenty more of our FREE property checklists, including:-

All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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