We talk a lot in our newsletters and on our social media pages about our sales and rentals teams, yet only briefly about our property maintenance team. Between Gemma, Oneeka and Luke our maintenance team looks after the 500 or so properties that we fully manage on behalf of our landlord clients across North-West Leeds. Our team are supported by our wonderful contractors and trades people, many of whom we have had a trusted working relationship with for many years.
Lockdown meant that our maintenance team could only carry out essential maintenance works in properties where it was safe to do so, meaning anything related to gas or electrical issues, water leaks or issues with toilets/showers could be dealt with in our usual way. Our contractors who were able to work (naturally some required to isolate and/or shield during lockdown) provided us with their COVID-19 risk assessments and they worked inside tenanted properties in accordance with Government guidance keeping them, and our tenants, safe. We are pleased to report that we successfully dealt with 327 jobs during lockdown.
Unfortunately, lockdown meant that non-urgent maintenance jobs had to be postponed – frustrating for tenants, landlords, us and our contractors. When Government gave the green light for estate agents to return to work on 13th May, it was paramount for us to speak to our contractors about their ‘return to work’ policy. The health and safety of everyone connected to our business is at the forefront of our minds, and this includes sending contractors into our tenanted properties. After all, our contractors aren’t allowed to visit their parents/grandparents/siblings/friends in their homes, yet they are allowed to work inside other peoples. That said, the contractors who are able to work (some are still shielding) were raring to get going after nearly 3 months of restrictions, so were quick to update us with their risk assessments.
As more non-urgent jobs were authorised by Gemma and Luke, our contractors set to work, only to discover that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a knock-on effect for everyone in the supply chains across all trades – building, plumbing, electrical etc. making it difficult for our contractors to complete the jobs in hand.
Some examples include:
Plaster and/or cement – plaster seems to be majorly sparse at the moment. What is normally £5 a bag is being sold for £100+ online. It would seem that plaster to the building trade was like pasta and toilet roll to the supermarkets at the beginning of lockdown, and currently there is a shortage as the factories then closed for lockdown.
Electrical and plumbing supplies – there is a shortage of both supplies at the suppliers. Our contractors are having to ring round and visit (where they can) multiple suppliers just for the most basic parts. Some of the well known suppliers like Milfords, Selco and Screwfix are also only offering a click and collect service, so our contractors are spending their days (and evenings!) trawling the internet looking for parts. Frustrating not only for our landlord and tenants, but also for our contractors, as a quick plumbing job can end up taking several days to resolve.
Roofing works – roofers can’t get their hands on roof tiles. The major supplier in Leeds is technically still closed, but has just started operating on a click and collect basis. At present there is no same day collection which in turn can delay a job an extra few days.
Scaffolding – our roofing contractors are telling us that scaffolders are few and far between, and unfortunately some scaffolds have been stranded during lockdown. If it’s stranded up at one house then it can’t be moved to another, so that in turn is also causing major backlogs with roofing works.
Windows – the uPVC factories have only just reopened and have a backlog of orders. We understand there is currently a 6 week lead time as opposed to the usual 2.
Deliveries – lots of manufacturers are down on drivers due to furlough, drivers isolating and/or shielding, so there is a logistical problem getting things from a to b. Some manufactures will only deliver when their delivery vans are completely full, which has a knock on effect for our contractors and therefore our landlord and tenants.
If you are a tenant in a Moores managed property, or are simply trying to get work completed on your own property, the above may well explain why there is a hold up. In the case of our contractors and the Moores maintenance team, unfortunately the majority of the delays are out of our hands. We pride ourselves on excellent customer service and endeavour to complete any repair reported to us in a timely manner. As the Government eases restrictions and businesses adapt to different ways of working, we hope that the supply chains can get moving again across all of the trades.
Thank you for your patience. We will continue to work hard to navigate this tough terrain for our clients and customers.