RESPONDING YOURSELF TO PROBLEMS

When the phone rings........

We have chosen not to use an agent, but respond to problems personally. Although we have a number of local tradesmen that we use and can respond quickly, often the situation needs a first response and an assesment of what needs to be done.

You are just settling down for the evening, you slip your shoes off, make a drink and generally feel good about the world.....then the phone pings - a text usually...'Got a blocked toilet/sink/leak in roof/locked myself out/heating on the blink/bath wobbly/light gone out....' and so it goes on. 

Recently I had been dealing with a blocked waste pipe in a lower flat - everytime the flat above used their toilet my tenant's toilet overflowed big time! I had called a specialist firm to unblock the drain but they had not completly cleared it. So after several phone calls up until almost midnight (it was a 24hour call out firm) I was promised another visit the next day. So I set the alarm for 7am to be there at 8am and clean the toilet and make ready for the professional.

Arriving at the flat with my cleaning gear, rubber gloves, wellies,disinfectant, mop and bucket..still half asleep from a late night and early start (I am 66 you know!!)...this is what I was confronted by.............

Still want to be a Landlord??

At 8am on a winter morning you really don't want this kind of greeting!  Anyway I did what Landlords do and cleaned it all up and waited until the 'man' came to bore a hole in the waste pipe and flush it out.

Now the point of me saying this is that if you want to be what they call today 'pro active' or 'responsive' then you have to be able to attend and deal with many odd situations.

Anyway what I have done for you is list the kind of things you need as 'pro active' Landlord - I have done this just to help you. You probably can think of many other things and can adjust the list as you desire to fit your situation. Anyway here goes...

FIRST RESPONSE VEHICLE

The work house 4700 cc of American muscle!!

This might sound very dramatic but actually it is common sense. You need a good motor! One that can carry anything you might need for an emergency.  I would always choose a 4x4, living in Scotland and in a village it is a must. I must be able to get out even when it snows.  My choice would always be an LPG (Autogas) vehicle or failing that a Diesel. I chose LPG because we have LPG garages all around us and at present it ranges from 63p to 68p litre. Idealy I chose one that has a drop rear window to enable long bits of wood to be carried. As this vehicle is a 'work horse' I never buy new but always buy cheaper low milage around 10 years old. My mileage with the properties is very high as they are spread over a wide area but all the motors I have had to date have been adequate for the task ......ah one thing I must not forget my dear readers.....a heated seat!! You may laugh but on a cold winter morning when you are battling through freezing conditions and looking forward to what awaits you...to have a gently warmed bottom is a blessing that is best felt than 'telt'.

Before you go..

Be RFA -Ready For Anything

These things might sound obvious but they are worth mentioning.

  • SMART PHONE - remember your phone. You might need to take photos and send them by email to workmen or for your records. You should have all your workmen in your contacts list so you can call them. As I am an Apple man I use an iphone so I can link everything.
  • CREDIT CARD - you will almost certainly need to go to B&Q or Homebase etc.. to get something you need.
  • FLASK - this is a personal matter but if the problem looks big and it's early then I take a Caffiene injection with me...I know I am sad.
  • SAT NAV - there may come a time when your tradesman says to you 'Oh you need to go to so and so's and you haven't a scoobie where it is.
  • SOMETHING TO WRITE WITH - often I have searched for a pen/pencil anything to write with or leave a note, or mark something for a workman.
  • PROTECTIVE CLOTHING - old jeans or overall, gloves.

Basic tools ready at hand

I usually carry a large bag of tools in the Jeep. However I will list some things that I have found helpful and should be readily available.

  • Ladder - I use a folding lightweight ladder that converts into a step ladder or long reach  ladder. Often I need to reach lights or smoke alarms etc.
  • A bag of plastic plumbing fittings - I am able to grab this if I have a plumbing problem.
  • A set of drain Rods - essential to have these and they do in handy
  • Electric fires - as a Landlord we have to provide heat for our tenants and if a heating system breaks down then we should be able to provide an alternative for a short time.
  • Several buckets for endless uses. I keep a number in my garage and in them keep bottles of cleaner,bleach, wire wool,clothes etc so that they are to hand if you need to clean up.
  • Mop, brush and dustpan.
  • Battery operated carpet cleaner...I always like to clean up after me!!
  • A supply of screws and nails
  • Drills - I have a battery drill kit and a mains drill kit together with all attachments these can be put into Jeep under the seat to have at hand or left at home ready when needed.

Tool Bag

I like to carry a tool bag in the Jeep to respond if called when I am out. Obviously this can only be a 'first aid' response.

  • Duck tape and waterproofing tape and Selotape and electrical tape
  • Screw drivers and selection of screws
  • Hammer and selectiion of nails/tacks
  • Crowbar (for lifting drain covers - just tell the Police that when they ask!!)
  • WD40
  • Pliers, Monkey wrench & plumbing pliers
  • Tape measure
  • Gloves
  • String and plastic ties
  • Adhesive
  • Torch and/or hands free head torch
  • Sealant
  • Paintbrush - this is useful for cleaning small spaces
  • Sandpaper
  • Spirit level
  • Radiator key
  • Gas key
  • Plastic bags
  • Eye mask
  • Face mask
  • Kitchen roll - essential!
  • Magnifying glass
  • Stanley Knife
  • Scissors
  • paint scraper
  • Fuses
  • Power extention
  • Battery drill and bits

 

As you respond you will find other things that you need and you will also find that the very thing you need you haven't got with you!! But the above will do as a starter kit.

MOST OF ALL PACK YOUR SENSE OF HUMOUR!!

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Victor Robert Farrell | Reply 25.12.2013 18.25

Very Funny! NOT

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