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spinynorman

Property Maintenance

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Guys - is it regular practice for letting agents who are managing your properties, to only use contractors who pay them a fee. This fee being additional to the fee you pay them for the actual work?

Thanks for any input.

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The quick answer is no. But if they do, it should be stated in the T&C's you signed with the agent so you can decide if you wish to use them as a agent or for the maintenance on your property.

Agents may do any of the following:

1 Don't charge any mark up

2 Invoice the contractor say 10% of all bills the contractor submitted so contractor just increases the bill 10% at the start of the job. This could be a way a agent hides it from the landlord which they are not supposed to do.

3 The agent just adds a charge to the landlord to represent say 10% of maintenance works arranged. This is more transparent.

Or the agent just may receive the odd bottle of whisky, wine or choccys at xmas from some contractors as a thank you for using them. This is what we get as a agency.

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Maintenance charges have always been a cause for concern/complaint. If you're reasonably knowledgeable with maintenance issues you will know what's involved with a repair & the likely costs and that usually bears no relationship to the price you are charged thru an agency for having the work carried out by one of their contractors.

Yesterday I had an overflow leak from a cold water tank. Normally I'd easily fix this myself for no more than 10/15 minutes work & a new ball valve costing £5. I was to busy with other stuff so had to call in the maintenance guy I use ....cost me £40. With an agent it could have been double that.

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A Landlord's boiler broke down last week so he called in BG for a quote. £3,450 and 10 day wait. So landlord rang his LA for a quote who contacted my Son who said he could do a Worcester for £2,300 inc vat. All the normal guarantees etc. etc. but he could not do it for 3 days.

Landlord wanted to know why he was so cheap!

Yes, a small agreed commission is payable to the LA but it is pre agreed terms and the Landlord does not pay that commission fee to the LA... my Son does.

Anyway job all done happy landlord and a happy tenant.

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I think a lot depends on the agent and who is doing the work.

I use an agent in London who happily gives out a list of good tradesmen with comments from customers. I am sure she does not take bribes from tradesmen but wants a happy, quiet uncomplicated life BUT I do know of a large multi agency office nearby where contractors offer the staff 'incentives' to recommend them.

What role do you play in this spinynorman?

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Guys - is it regular practice for letting agents who are managing your properties, to only use contractors who pay them a fee. This fee being additional to the fee you pay them for the actual work?

Thanks for any input.

My Son is regularly contacted by LA's for work. Any LA who states that they require a 10% commission fee for introduction would be told to get stuffed in no uncertain terms. Think about it.........Boiler replacement at around £2500 inc vat (or less ) the LA would receive £250 for doing tiddly-sqat.

Plumbing & Heating work is so highly competively priced for quotations the average registered installer could not do it for the money so they are hardly likely to cough up £250 to an LA.

We had a case here in my location only a month ago whereby an Agency was using an unregistered gas installer. He received a severe sentence for dangerous and unsafe work. I don't think the Agency were fined for using an unregistered installer and I think they should have been fined as well.

http://press.hse.gov.uk/2015/illegal-swindon-gas-fitter-put-lives-at-risk/

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Thanks everyone for the replies. My situation is that my letting agent has been charging a fee to any contractors who they instructed to do work on my property. I had no clue they did this, it's not in our agreement unless it's hiding, I don't know how much the fee was. I got invoiced by the contractor directly and I just discovered that the contractor pays a fee to the letting agent. I only found out when a contractor told me he'd been asked to pay a fee and preferred not to.

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Was the work the contractor did essential or have you signed up to a fully manage and maintain contract with the agent? If not why was agent having work done?

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Oh I see, well it's multiple jobs over years. On various occasions I had concerns that prices were too high, that contractors were being sent around for the slightest thing, and that I could never manage to get full answers to my questions. It's somewhat problematic for me to get involved in day to day stuff but following a recent tenant change we needed a lot of work doing so I did get involved. I found that I could get better work much cheaper and much quicker. Over the years I've paid over the odds for many jobs and now I know why.

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