More tenants turn to agents for help in changing light bulbs Tuesday 3rd December 2013
A letting agent says there is a marked rise in the number of tenants who cannot perform the simplest household tasks, such as changing light bulbs.
Benham & Reeves Residential Lettings said more and more tenants are relying on their property managers to deal with routine repairs that could be undertaken by the tenants themselves. Managers at the London firm attribute the increase to a lack of ‘dad skills’ that are not being passed down the generations. Director Marc von Grundherr said: “We will send out a qualified repairman to deal with any problems but some of these are so simple that you have to wonder why a tenant would go to the trouble of waiting in for someone. “Just last week we had a tenant phone to say that their lights had gone off. We told him that he simply needed to flick the switch on his consumer unit as something had tripped. "He refused, saying that he didn’t want to be electrocuted.”
Tenants have contacted the firm to change light bulbs, bleed radiators, tighten door handles, unblock U-bends and sinks, change batteries in smoke alarms and even wipe down condensation from windows.
One tenant kept complaining that he needed a new microwave as his plate didn’t fit. Benham & Reeves initially thought that he was referring to the turntable but it turned out it was the plates in the cupboard that were the problem. He demanded a larger microwave on the basis that “these were the plates that were in the flat when I moved in so they should fit”.
Another tenant was angry that his new television had not arrived. Benham & Reeves phoned the delivery company who said they had attempted a delivery on three separate occasions. When the property manager asked the tenant if his doorbell had been ringing over the last few days, he answered in the affirmative. The property manager politely suggested that in future he should answer the door.
One woman complained that her sink was blocked for days. It transpired that the plug was in.
A man complained that his shower was cold but had hot water elsewhere in the flat. The tenant had not turned the shower control from cold.
Von Grundherr said: “Without a doubt, calls to our property management service have gone up markedly over the last ten years. “The very prospect of tackling anything around the home frightens many tenants and the majority do not even own a screwdriver set or a hammer. “Is it down to absent dads, dads not passing on skills, or is it just down to higher expectations?
Probably a combination of all three, but we expect this trend to rise as more and more people enter the private rental sector.” So, if you are an agent and you ask yourself how many tenants does it take to change a lightbulb – is the answer likely to be none?
Source: Letting Agent Today. 03/12/2013.