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7 Essential Tips For Tenants This Christmas

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Published: 12/12/2017   Last Updated: 12/12/2017 15:24:59   Author: LBH    Tags: Tenants, Letting Agents, Christmas


Christmas  is just around the corner and we can  almost hear the sound of Santa's  bells. But before you leave your home  to visit family for the holidays,  we have some top tips to share with  you to ensure you don't have any  issues while you're away...

1. Update emergency contact details
Make   sure that you know how to get in touch with us in the event of an   emergency. Our office will be closed Friday 22nd December at 4pm, and   will reopen on Tuesday 2rd January 2017 at 9am. Emails  will not be  monitored during this time. In case of emergency only, out  of office  hours, please send us an SMS to 07966 662971 with your name,  address,  phone number and the full details of the problem. If  the issue is  deemed to be an emergency, our Out of Hours Team will call  you back to  arrange the necessary action. Please note this number is  for  emergencies only and you may be charged an small administration fee for  incorrect use.
Non-urgent repair requests should be emailed to us in  the usual way and  will be actioned as quickly as possible upon our  return on the 2nd  January.  

2. How to avoid burst pipe disasters
It   is essential that heating is left on low and us not switched off.  Pipes  can freeze and then burst during the cold weather and this can  lead to  major leaks causing much damage to property and your contents.  To ensure  this does not happen, we kindly request you leave your  heating on low  and constant over the winter weeks when you are not  home. If damage is  caused due to your failure to do this, you may be  liable for associated  costs - so it is vital you do so.

3. Know thy boiler 
Burst   pipes and other potential problems can be prevented by ensuring that   the heating remains on low during cold spells. Be sure to know how your   heating system works. If you require a copy of your manuals, these are   available on line (by searching the make and model) or from Dwell  during  office hours. If there is any issue with your heating or hot  water  (boiler) not working properly, the first thing to do before  calling the  emergency number is to check the pressure. This should be  set between 1  and 2 bar on the gauge. Pressure drops are by far the  single most common  problem with heating and hot water. If the pressure  has dropped to  around 0, you can top this up yourself by opening the  value for the  filing loop and increasing the pressure. Ensure you know  how to do this  correctly by reading the manual before attempting to do  so. If you can’t  find a user manual, please google the make and model  number for  details.

4. Know thy stop tap
It   is essential you know where to find the stopcock in the event of a   plumbing emergency. Please make familiarise yourselves with the  stopcock  location if you do not know where it is. If there is a leak,  the  stopcock will need to be turned off quickly to avoid damage to the   property, so it is important that you know where it is.

5. Security
If   you are going away over the Christmas period (or, indeed, at any time   during the year), you might consider having a lighting timer system   fitted. This can be an effective way of reducing the chances of   burglary. Always ensure all doors and windows are locked securely too   and alarms are set if provide.

5. Know thy fusebox 
Ensure   you know the location of your fuse box. If an electical itme, sockets,  or lights stop working suddenly it is usually due to a tripped switch  on the fusebox. Check this first and reset the switch. You might also  consider leaving  a torch in an obvious location (for example the  kitchen) in order to  make sure you can find it in the event that a fuse  is blown or a switch  tripped.

6. Avoid the dreaded condensation
Condensation   can damage paintwork and fixtures and fittings, and can be a problem   during the colder winter months. This can be seen as black mould on  cold  surfaces which are poorly ventilated, and is often confused with  damp.  Make sure that you keep rooms properly ventilated, and that an  even  heated  temperature is maintained throughout the property, in  order to  reduce condensation.

7. Stay covered 
Make   sure your contents insurance policy is up to date and it hasn't  expired. This policy should cover you should the worst happen - fire,  theft, loss, or accidental damage, In addition, under  the terms of your  tenancy agreement, you are required to advise us if  you are leaving  the property for more than 14 days. Please send us an email to let us  know if you are going away for 2 weeks or more. This  often affects the  terms of your landlords insurance policy and may also  affect your  contents insurance policy. If you need a contents insurance  quote, contact us here and we'll get you a great quote.

Thank you for your assistance in looking after your home this Christmas!

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2018!

The Team at Dwell Leeds

#MovingYouForwards

Your Online Letting Agency Doesn’t Want You To Read This. Here’s why…

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Published: 25/10/2017   Last Updated: 31/10/2017 09:46:01   Tags: Online Agents, Property Management, Letting Agents

“Online” or “Call Centre” Letting Agents have arrived, and although they have had nowhere near the impact the Online Estate Agents have had in recent years, they are almost certainly here to stay.

Having researched a number of Online Letting Agents, we thought we’d summarise the pros and cons of these types of agents to save you hours of research, and so you can make an informed decision on which type of Letting Agency suits your circumstances best.

Pros

  • Modern and easy to use website
  • Online chat
  • Viewings can be booked online 24/7
  • Cheaper entry price (usually 10-20% lower than local agents)
  • Fixed fees
  • Minimum service options
  • Clear definitions
  • Clear service options
  • Sign terms online
  • Local agent often available in your area
Cons

  • The landlord is required to upload their own photos
  • The landlord is required to write and upload their own detailed property description
  • Viewings carried out by the agent are often not included but available as an additional add on (Landlords can expect to pay anywhere up to £300 extra!)
  • Inspections are often not included in standard package
  • Inventories are often not included in standard package
  • No follow up on maintenance works
  • Incomplete arrears service. An example being 2 phone calls and 2 letters only – if the arrears remain out standing after that no further action is taken
  • Gas certificate is not carried out – just an email reminder is sent to the landlord! This is a legal requirement under Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
  • Agents do not test smoke alarms. This is a legal requirement under the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations 2015
  • No involvement in complex management issues
  • Tenancy renewals often not included
  • No rent reviews or rent increases at renewal
  • Untrained call centre staff reading from scripts
  • Impersonal centralised Property Management and Accounts centres
  • No local offices to visit if there is a problem
  • Customers unaware they are being provided a vastly reducing service compared with a full management service offered by local agents

Summary

Online Agents have a place in the market and offer a good solution for many landlords. However care needs to be taken when choosing as it’s not immediately obvious that the services by provided by each type of Letting Agency are simply not the same.

Online agents are good at illustrating what is included in their service, but often aren’t forth coming about what is not included. Landlords may be able to reduce cost by 20%, but may not also realise they may well be reducing service by 80% at the same time.

We believe online agents are a good option for landlords who understand all of the legal framework, compliance and the complexities of management and are fully up to speed with all the regulations. The landlord also needs to be hands-on and heavily involved in the letting and management of their property.

For those who want a hassle-free service that offers total peace of mind, we believe that a local agent offering a comprehensive management service would always be more appropriate, offering peace of mind along with a personal service.

If you have any queries about our management services, don't hesitate to get in touch.