Unscrupulous managing agents are cutting corners on safety assessments to save money, putting landlords’ insurance claims in jeopardy and their tenants’ lives at risk.
Property compliance firm Tac Property Consultants warns that contractors are being used to carry out works which they’re not qualified or accredited to do, making any issued document non-compliant.
Director David Rogers has recently uncovered several dodgy contractors while carrying out due diligence checks and believes that nationwide, firms have issued a “frightening” number of non-compliant documents.
“It’s getting worse because there are more HMOs out there – and some agents don’t want to fork out for reputable companies, they just pull the wool over landlords’ eyes,” he tells LandlordZONE.
One landlord paid £150 for a fire risk assessment, only for Rogers to discover that it had been carried out by a rogue company which had even tried to forge training documents when challenged.
“If he hadn’t found that out and there’d been a problem at the property, he wouldn’t have been able to claim on the insurance, while it could also have put tenants at risk if the assessment hadn’t been done properly.”
A good fire risk assessment from a reliable company costs between £250 and £300, he says.
Rogers (pictured) has also taken issue with Safeagent and London Property Licensing who recently called for the government to pause routine electrical inspections for six months or risk increasing the spread of Covid.
“Delaying carrying out essential works on properties can endanger lives which will not be Covid-19 related,” he insists. “If they delay carrying out routine electrical inspections, what are they proposing to do about the gas servicing, fire alarm servicing and emergency lighting inspections all of which need to be regularly serviced and maintained to ensure that the property is compliant and safe for the tenants?”
He says managing agents just need to put thought into arranging these checks, by ensuring tenants stay in their rooms, or even accompanying the contractor to make sure they are wearing the right PPE.