When you hear the words ‘Student Property’ what’s the first thing that comes to mind? A run-down fleapit? Many student properties in Manchester are un-loved and poorly-maintained but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here at Philip James we understand the student market is changing so we’re changing with it.
Last year’s controversial rise in tuition fees has resulted in an 8% drop in University applications for 2012. Combine that with a notable rise in students renting professional houses and city centre apartments and you’ll appreciate why run-down flea-pits have to be a thing of the past.
GOODBYE ROGUE LANDLORDS
Over the last few years we’ve been working closely with our student landlords, helping the conscientious ones improve the quality of their properties whilst putting pressure on reluctant landlords who think only crucial repairs important. Here at Philip James we believe every repair is important and our dogged determination to weed out rogue landlords has paid off. The quality of our student houses has improved ten-fold and complaints from students significantly reduced.
But it’s not always plain-sailing. Sometimes landlords tell us they’re arranging the works themselves, only for us to find out at a later date that nothing has been done. This negligence from landlords results in a tidal wave of complaints and tenants seeking compensation. This can be stressful for all parties and lead to current tenants telling future tenants how bad their landlord is. And if you think this is disastrous for us, just think what it means for the landlord. Their property stays empty for the following academic year, empty houses fall into disrepair and the cycle continues.
OUR “RAPID FIX” PLEDGE
So what can we do to stop it? Firstly we make landlords understand how important maintenance is by managing their properties for them. Then we are able to rapidly dispatch our army of painters, plumbers, plasterers, electricians and other contractors to fix any problem that may arise. If it’s urgent we’ll fix in it 24-hours, if it’s general maintenance we’ll aim to get it done within 10 days.
We make regular inspections to ensure repairs have been carried out to a high-standard and we make sure the property is being kept in a good condition by the tenant.
It’s important that all jobs are carried out in reasonable time and at a reasonable price. By making sure the majority of jobs are invoiced within 10 days we help landlords stay on top of their accounts and avoid unexpected bills months down the line.
TWO STRIKES AND THEY’RE OUT
We receive over 1,000 urgent calls every month, so it’s important we keep a tight ship inside and outside the office. We regularly check the quality of our contractor’s work and if it’s sub-standard we make sure they rectify the problem. If the same issues arise again we stop using them. It’s as simple as that. We don’t tolerate poor workmanship and we don’t employ contractors who fail to meet our standards and timescales.
It’s a pretty tried and tested formula. Keep your property in tip-top condition and students will take care of it. Leave it to fall apart and they won’t. And it’s not just the big jobs like plumbing and electrics; it’s the small jobs like torn wallpaper and peeling paint. Look after the minor issues and your tenants will look after your house.
If your existing tenants are happy, they’ll tell future tenants what a great landlord they have. And then everybody’s happy. And so are we.
Pete Flood runs Philip James maintenance department. If you need advice about looking after your property call him on (0161) 448 1111